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Outside Rittenhouse trial: Divided demonstrators and the Missouri gun couple

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Protestors Gather Outside During Closing Arguments

KENOSHA (WKOW) -- While there were relatively few demonstrators outside closing arguments in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial Monday, the noise picked up late in the afternoon - especially when a couple that made its own national headlines showed up outside the courthouse.

For much of the afternoon, there were about a dozen demonstrators on the steps leading to the Kenosha County Courthouse. Their signs made clear they wanted to see Rittenhouse convicted on all possible charges.

Later on, a pair of pro-Rittenhouse demonstrators came up the steps, which led to a brief exchange between the two sides that was at times heated but remained peaceful.

Alexandra Wilburn, who said she came from Madison to take part, said she felt it was her duty as an activist to show up and speak up against what she felt were two unjust killings carried out by Rittenhouse, who maintains he shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber in self-defense.

"If I were murdered, I would want other activists and other people that thought it was wrong to, you know, stand, Wilburn said. "Whether it's out here, whether it's in other ways, to remember me."

At times, the swarm of media outnumbered the demonstrators. Some of the photographers moved toward a couple that began walking toward the courthouse.

Recognizing it was Mark and Patricia McCloskey, protesters from both sides surrounded them as well.

The Missouri couple made national headlines last summer when they brandished guns at a group of Black Lives Matter protesters who were marching in their gated St. Louis subdivision.

The McCloskeys ended up pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges. Monday, Mark McCloskey said they were in Kenosha to support Rittenhouse.

"We feel it's all politically motivated and that Kyle did nothing but defend himself as did we a year ago," he said. "We're hoping the jury agrees and finds him not guilty on all counts and he can go on a free man."

A 27 News reporter then asked McCloskey if he worried his presence in Kenosha risks making things worse for the community.

"Well I hope not," McCloskey said. "We're not screaming."

Inside, the jury will consider five counts against Rittenhouse, including the possibility of lesser charges on some of the counts.

Ion Meyn, an assistant law professor at UW-Madison, said the polarized opinions surrounding the case likely are present with jurors who will have to consider the charges amid views of Rittenhouse as either a vigilante-turned-murderer after provoking violence or as a teen trying to protect businesses who ended up having to protect himself.

"This is a really political case where people feel really strongly and I don't know how much room for compromise there will be in the jury room given that kind of ideological divide on this case," Meyn said.

Capitol Bureau Chief

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