The first day of the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial has concluded, with a few key takeaways. The prosecution began by asking for a not guilty verdict on all charges. They argued that they have enough evidence to show that Rittenhouse was the only person in the room at the time of death and is therefore responsible for her death. On defense’s opening statement, they stated their intention to prove that there are other possible suspects who could be responsible for Ms. Smith’s death and make it seem like this case might be harder than originally thought.
After the prosecution’s first witness, Dr. Richard Stornelli, the defense called for a brief recess. They stated that they needed time to review some new evidence that has come up in light of Dr. Stornelli’s testimony regarding the time of death. The defense then called their first witness who was Erika Smith’s roommate at the time, Erika Burns.
Burns testified that she and Smith had been roommates for three years at the University of New Mexico. They were close friends and would often go out together as well as spend their evenings in watching television series such as Scandal and House of Cards. She stated that Ms. Smith went to Albuquerque for an audition on the night of her death which she believed went well. She also stated that Smith usually told her when she had auditions but not this time, which made Burns suspicious.
Burns then recounted how the police came to question her after Ms. Smith’s body was found in Rittenhouse’s hotel room. The first few days she was questioned by the police, she stated that her memory was slightly hazy from drinking that night and didn’t remember seeing anyone else or anything out of ordinary. However, a few days later detectives contacted her again to question her about rumors going around campus regarding a man who goes around campus wearing a beret. She did not know who this person was but stated that she told the detectives what she knew.
Burns was then questioned about her Facebook account where she posted pictures of herself and Rittenhouse partying together at a club called Oso Negro. The defense asked if they were friends on Facebook to which Burns replied that they were acquaintances. She further testified, saying I didn’t realize at the moment but looking back, he was hitting on me that night.
After this testimony, the defense announced that they would be calling a new witness to testify for their side. This new witness will most likely be able to give more insight into Rittenhouse’s possible motives and what really happened in his hotel room on the evening of September 2nd, 2015.
Stay tuned to the Court-Recorder for more information on this trial as it comes in.
The prosecution has just finished calling their last witness and closing arguments will be held tomorrow followed by a jury verdict. The defense is expected to call one final witness before then so verdict day may come earlier than most people expect.