Nov. 10 (UPI) -- Kyle Rittenhouse, the Illinois man who was a minor when he traveled to Wisconsin and shot two people dead last year during civil rights protests, took the witness stand at his homicide trial on Wednesday -- where he broke down into tears and told the court he did nothing wrong.
Rittenhouse made the trip from his home state of Illinois on Aug. 25, 2020, to Kenosha, Wis. -- he says to protect other people's properties from protesters during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in the city over the recent police shooting of Jacob Blake.
Then 17, Rittenhouse showed up with an assault-style rifle that he ultimately used to kill activists Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and wound a third man.
Under cross-examination, Rittenhouse said he did not intend to kill anyone but admitted using deadly force in self-defense that night. Judge Bruce Schroeder admonished prosecutor Thomas Binger for his line of questioning to Rittenhouse, with the two getting into a testy exchange outside of the jury's presence.
In answering questions from his attorneys Wednesday, Rittenhouse said he killed the men in self-defense after he encountered Rosenbaum "walking with a steel chain" and a "blue mask around his face," according to CNN.
"He was just mad about something," Rittenhouse said, contending that Rosenbaum had threatened several people. "He was screaming. He said, 'I'm going to cut your [expletive] hearts out."
Rittenhouse said he saw Rosenbaum turn over a trailer and portable toilet during the protest.
Rittenhouse broke down when he said he was "cornered" by Rosenbaum. He was sobbing so much that the judge called for a recess.
"I didn't do anything wrong," he said. "I defended myself."
Later, under cross examination by prosecutors, Rittenhouse said Rosenbaum "would've killed me" if the latter had taken his gun from him. He said, however, that Rosenbaum never touched him, only grabbed his gun.
Rittenhouse said he did "what I had to do" to stop people from attacking him.
"I didn't intend to kill them, I intended to stop the people who were attacking me."
Prosecutors have argued that Rittenhouse was completely unjustified in using deadly force and should be held responsible for the men's deaths.
At the close of proceedings Wednesday, Schroeder told the jury he expects the case to be over by early next week.