KENOSHA, Wis. - The Kyle Rittenhouse trial garnered worldwide attention for weeks. A jury acquitted the 18-year-old on all charges in the shooting and killing of two men and wounding of a third during protests in Kenosha in August 2020. Now, we're getting a closer look at some of the letters filed with the court right before and after the verdict was read.
FOX6 News showed you the hundreds of pages of letters, postcards and other mail sent to the court at the start of the trial. Additional correspondence was sent to the judge and Rittenhouse himself in the lead up to the verdict and afterward.
Even before the Rittenhouse case was gaveled out by Judge Bruce Schroeder, the events that lead up to it, impacting a southeastern Wisconsin community but garnering attention from across the world, are reflected in the hundreds of pieces of correspondence sent to the court before, during and right up until the verdict was read.
On the day the jury reached its verdict, an Ohio woman sent a handwritten letter saying had it not been for Judge Schroeder, "That precious, intelligent, wholesome, motivated & alltogether (sic) adorable young man (Rittenhouse), would have been a life wasted."
Schroeder became the center of intrigue at times for how the septuagenarian presided over the case, with methods were unknown to the wider public. He even considered discontinuing televised trials at one point over frustrations regarding the coverage.
Kenosha County Judge Bruce Schroeder
A topic of a letter from a Washington State woman, sent the day the case ended, urged Schroeder to continue the practice, saying Rittenhouse was "...'tried' and found guilty or innocent long before he faced the courtroom, and so it was enlightening to actually see how the system is supposed to work."
Schroeder, as well as Rittenhouse, are the topics of the majority of the correspondence. In one printed letter, with "judge" in quotation marks, says Schroeder showed favoritism towards Rittenhouse, the writer adding: "I have never been so sickened by two individuals (Rittenhouse & Schroeder) in my life…and the only thing that is left to say to the wanna be (sic) judge is to let him know that the world is watching!" It's signed: "Sincerely, a sickened viewer of the Kyle Rittenhouse case caused by Schroeder."
Some of the documents follow the same vein of letters sent from the start of the trial, some with profanity and drawing the ire of those who were watching the case from afar. While the case has ended, and Rittenhouse is now a free man, there's no doubt sentiments that continue to this day in what was a polarizing case from the beginning.