Five months after Kyle Rittenhouse allegedly killed two men and wounded another at a demonstration against police brutality Kenosha, Wisconsin, prosecutors cannot find the 18-year-old vigilante. Prosecutors told a court on Wednesday that Rittenhouse violated his bond agreement by failing to inform the court when he moved from his home address. As a consequence, prosecutors urged the court to issue a warrant for his arrest and to increase his bond by $200,000.
According to a filing by the Kenosha County District Attorney’s Office, Rittenhouse no longer lives at the address he provided when he posted bond last November to be released from jail while he awaits trial on murder charges. When the court attempted to contact him by mail in December, their notice was returned to them unclaimed a little over a month later. When Kenosha detectives went to his purported residence in Antioch, Illinois, on Tuesday, they spoke with another man who said his own lease there began on December 15 — less than a month after Rittenhouse posted $2 million in bail, a sum that was largely crowdfunded by conservative groups.
Responding to the motion on Wednesday, Rittenhouse’s current defense attorney claimed that he was moved to an undisclosed location by his previous lawyer, John Pierce, after he received several threats. “While completing paperwork related to Kyle’s release, Attorney Pierce was directly informed by a high-ranking member of the Kenosha Police Department not to provide the address of the Rittenhouse Safe House because of the numerous threats made against Kyle and his family,” the response said, according to NBC News.
Though the court considers Rittenhouse AWOL, the teenager was reportedly seen at a bar in Wisconsin on January 5, where he allegedly flashed a white power hand sign, hung out with Proud Boys, and wore a T-shirt that read “Free as Fuck” as he took pictures with fans. According to the local ABC affiliate, his mother took him to the bar that day after his arraignment hearing. (People under 21 may drink in bars if they are with parents in Wisconsin.)
Though Rittenhouse’s total bond could soon be as high as $2.2 million, it’s unclear if such a sum would alter his behavior before his jury trial scheduled for March 29. If the bulk of the new bail increase is once again paid by conservative influencers, the rationale for increased bond — to inflict financial pain to heed court orders — may have no bite.