Kenosha County, WI – The friend who bought the AR-15 that then-17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse used to kill two people and wound a third during the Jacob Blake riots in Kenosha has agreed to plead no contest to contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a misdemeanor.
Shortly after Rittenhouse was charged with murder, then 18-year-old Dominick Black was arrested and charged with two felony counts of intentionally giving a dangerous weapon to a person under 18, causing death.
Black and Rittenhouse testified at trial that Black had agreed to purchase the AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle because Rittenhouse wasn’t old enough to buy it for himself.
Rittenhouse gave Black the money he got from his pandemic stimulus check to buy the gun and his friend purchased the Smith & Wesson M&P15 at the Ladysmith Ace Home Center.
They had agreed to store the weapon at Black’s stepfather’s house in Kenosha until Rittenhouse turned 18 and that was where Rittenhouse got the weapon the night of the fatal incident.
Rittenhouse met up with Black in Kenosha after he finished work at his lifeguarding job on Aug. 25, 2020 to help clean graffiti from the prior night’s riots off a school building.
Then they heard about a business owner who needed help defending his business, so they armed themselves and volunteered to provide security at the business.
The criminal complaint charging Black said that Black and Rittenhouse met up at Black’s stepfather’s house and Black gave his 17-year-old friend the gun he had illegally purchased for him.
Later that night, Rittenhouse shot three people – killing two – as he was pursued by an angry mob through the streets of Kenosha.
The state’s case against Black took a huge hit when Kenosha Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder dismissed the misdemeanor gun charge for possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18 against Rittenhouse before his case went to the jury.
While the gun charge was just a misdemeanor, legal experts had predicted that the gun charge was the one count that was likely to actually result in a conviction for the 18-year-old Rittenhouse, who was ultimately acquitted of the murder of two men and attempted murder of a third.
Attorneys for Rittenhouse argued that Wisconsin law has an exception allows 17-year-olds to openly carry firearms as long as they are not short-barreled rifles, WCCO reported.
Defense attorneys told the judge that Rittenhouse’s rifle did not have a barrel of less than 16 inches and an overall length of less than 26 inches and therefore, it was not illegal for the defendant to have carried it.
The judge allowed that the state law was badly written and but said that Rittenhouse had not violated the law, WCCO reported.
If Rittenhouse had been convicted of the gun misdemeanor, the charge would have carried a maximum sentence of nine months behind bars and a $10,000 fine.
Anthony Cotton, defense attorney for Black, made the same argument for dismissing the case against his client, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
The same judge – Schroeder – is presiding over Black’s trial.
Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger filed a proposed plea agreement on Friday that indicated Black would plead no contest to a non-criminal citation on Jan. 10 and pay a $2,000 fine, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
In exchange, the felony charges against him would be dismissed.
Schroeder could still dismiss the original felony counts against Black ahead of approving a plea deal, based on his ruling that Rittenhouse hadn’t actually broken the law by possessing that specific gun, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Black’s attorney said he hoped the judge would accept the agreement negotiated with prosecutors and pointed out his client had already testified to the facts of what had happened.
A Kenosha County jury deliberated for four days before rendering not guilty verdicts on all remaining charges against Rittenhouse on Nov. 19, 2021.