Kyle Rittenhouse has violated his bond agreement by apparently moving out of his home without notifying the court, and now Wisconsin prosecutors are seeking a warrant for his arrest.
In a court filing Wednesday, prosecutors said several attempts to contact the teenager have failed. The 18-year-old faces multiple homicide charges related to the shooting deaths of two unarmed Black Lives Matter protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, this summer.
On Tuesday, Kenosha police detectives visited the address Rittenhouse filed with the court after he posted a $2 million bond in November, only to be greeted at the door by a different person entirely.
The man, who has no relation to Rittenhouse, said he’d been living there since Dec. 14. Earlier court notices, mailed to the address in mid-December, had also bounced back.
Under the terms of Rittenhouse’s bond, he is supposed to update his address with the court within 48 hours of moving.
“In a criminal case as serious as this one, it is critically important that the Court be able to monitor the defendant’s whereabouts at all times,” Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger wrote in the Kenosha County Circuit Court filing.
“After all, it is extremely unusual for a defendant facing a charge of First Degree Intentional Homicide in Kenosha County to post cash bond and be released from custody pending trial. Rarely does our community see accused murderers roaming about freely.”
Rittenhouse’s former attorney responded to the motion later Wednesday, saying his former client wasn’t at the listed address as he had been moved to an undisclosed “safe house” due to death threats, CNN reported. The network added that attorneys for Rittenhouse emailed Kenosha County prosecutors in November asking to file a change of address form but keep it under seal.
An email response sent by an assistant district attorney at the time said the office would not agree to those terms unless there was evidence of tangible and imminent threats.
Prosecutors urged the court to increase the teenager’s bond by $200,000 in a bid to force compliance, noting that the $2 million he has already posted “came from a dubious internet fundraising campaign.”
“He posted no money so he has no financial stake in the bond,” said Binger. “He is already facing the most serious possible criminal charges and life in prison, so in comparison, potential future criminal penalties are insignificant.”
Following the shootings, Rittenhouse saw an outpouring of support from the far right, and then-President Donald Trump amplified Rittenhouse’s claims that he shot in self-defense.
Rittenhouse’s bond restrictions have already been tightened once. Late last month, the 18-year-old was seen drinking at a Wisconsin bar, where he flashed the white power OK sign while fraternizing with members of the Proud Boys and wearing a T-shirt reading, “Free as Fuck.” Afterward, a judge prohibited him from associating with white supremacists.
The drinking age in Wisconsin is 21, but Rittenhouse could legally drink at the bar because he was accompanied by his mother.
His trial is scheduled to begin March 29.