Kyle Rittenhouse verdict: Jury's first requests not unexpected for complicated case, expert says

Jurors asked for 11 copies of jury instructions shortly after deliberations kicked off

KENOSHA, Wis. – The 12-person Wisconsin jury mulling the fate of accused Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse entered its second day of deliberations on Wednesday, asking three questions during their first hours behind closed doors.

On Wednesday, the jury's third round of questions related to the drone footage and images shown at the trial. They asked: "Do we view videos in private or in the courtroom? Do you need to know exact exhibit number of photos?" Judge Bruce Schroeder told the jury they could view the images in the courtroom.

On Tuesday, the first question came approximately 45 minutes after jury deliberation began. Jurors asked for 11 copies of pages 1 through 6 of the jury instructions, which cover intent, provocation, the definition and details related to the "intent to kill," and some of the highest charges. Hours later, they requested 11 copies of the remaining pages of the instructions, pages 7 through 36. 

MARK RICHARDS in white shirt, defense attorney for Kyle Rittenhouse, paces the courtroom before the start of the days proceedings in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial in Kenosha (Wisconsin) Circuit Court Monday November 15, 2021. (Mark Hertzberg /Pool Photo via AP)

MARK RICHARDS in white shirt, defense attorney for Kyle Rittenhouse, paces the courtroom before the start of the days proceedings in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial in Kenosha (Wisconsin) Circuit Court Monday November 15, 2021. (Mark Hertzberg /Pool Photo via AP) (Mark Hertzberg /Pool Photo via AP)

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Speaking to Fox News Digital on Wednesday, longtime criminal defense attorney Julie Rendelman said the jury could have made the requests for any number of reasons.

"We don’t know if it’s one juror, all the jurors," she said.

Rendelman, a former prosecutor based in New York, said she doesn’t blame the jurors for wanting their own copies of the instructions.

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"It's so much easier to, especially in such an incredibly complicated set of instructions, for each of them to be able to view it on their own," she continued. "I'm not sure you can think anything about that. It's not unusual when a jury first sits down to decompress – kind of just, honestly talk about maybe not even the trial, but just kind of how they're all feeling, and then start to talk about what each of them thinks, and then they may organize how they're going to analyze the case."

"The first thing after they do that, after they have a talk, is to start to look at the actual law."

— Criminal defense attorney Julie Rendelman
Kyle Rittenhouse listens as his attorney, Mark Richards, give his closing argument during  Rittenhouse's trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.S., November 15, 2021. Sean Krajacic/Pool via REUTERS

Kyle Rittenhouse listens as his attorney, Mark Richards, give his closing argument during  Rittenhouse's trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.S., November 15, 2021. Sean Krajacic/Pool via REUTERS (Sean Krajacic/Pool via REUTERS)

Rendelman noted that it would have been "absolutely shocking" for a jury to come back with a decision – whether a conviction or an acquittal – without having reviewed the jury instructions."

The jury finished deliberating for the day on Tuesday after seven hours and 45 minutes. They returned Wednesday morning at approximately 9 a.m. local time. 

The panel of jurors consists of seven women and five men, including one person of color.

Rittenhouse, 18, faces up to life in prison if convicted of the highest charge. He has been charged with six counts, including first degree reckless homicide and first degree recklessly endangering safety.