Accused killer of I’malya Pelletier ‘feared for his life’ before she died, according to defense

Jurors began delivering partial verdicts Monday in the case of Kyle Rittenhouse, the former Clark’s chef accused of killing I’malya Pelletier, a cashier at a CVS in Rockville. In their final attempt to dissuade…

Accused killer of I’malya Pelletier ‘feared for his life’ before she died, according to defense

Jurors began delivering partial verdicts Monday in the case of Kyle Rittenhouse, the former Clark’s chef accused of killing I’malya Pelletier, a cashier at a CVS in Rockville.

In their final attempt to dissuade Rittenhouse from testifying in his own defense, prosecutors made the errors that led two other members of the Pivot Group to admit to jury tampering.

Before dismissing Del. Lisa Bishop for the day, Circuit Judge Paul Friedman urged the jurors, who returned verdicts at approximately 9:30 a.m., to review the fatal three-minute window in which prosecutors contend that Rittenhouse shot Pelletier in the head to prevent her from calling the police. The final prosecution witness, Pivot’s owner, Ronnie Brewer, testified that Rittenhouse arrived at his D.C. restaurant after midnight and asked him not to call police. Prosecutors also displayed a recorded phone call in which a manager told Pelletier she was not entitled to sick leave, nor could Rittenhouse claim a sick day as a workplace injury.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Andre Davis pointed out that Rittenhouse, who told police that Pelletier shot herself in the head to prevent her from calling police, failed to mention the phone call.

“So why then did you tell them, and a witness, that she had worked all day at CVS and was getting ready to report for work, and then kill her?” Davis asked.

“Because I feared for my life,” Rittenhouse replied.

His attorney, Gary Myers, argued that Rittenhouse left his job before Pelletier left.

“The only reason she can’t be here is because of you,” Myers said.

Davis echoed defense attorneys’ assertion that Pelletier was an angry woman who grew upset that she didn’t hear the very next day that Rittenhouse had received a promotion. Myers quoted from a note Pelletier wrote saying that she only filed a police report because Rittenhouse was abusive toward her, calling her names.

“That is an ugly note, isn’t it?” Davis asked.

“That is not what I stand for,” Rittenhouse said.

In closing arguments, Davis emphasized the fact that Rittenhouse was with Pelletier the day of the shooting, had only returned to work hours before, and had access to a cellphone.

“Those are facts that are difficult to refute,” Davis said.

Myers depicted Pelletier as a woman who had been hostile to Rittenhouse from the start. He argued that if Rittenhouse really was so threatened by his former colleague, he would have stayed home on the day of the shooting, not allowed Pelletier to transfer her workplace benefits to Rittenhouse’s co-workers and, as Rittenhouse said, would have worked “all day and I don’t think I would have been so brazen to come down to drop something.”

Davis cited another testimony, from an alleged Rittenhouse acquaintance, to the effect that Rittenhouse may have viewed the shooting as an accident.

“This is the choice, now,” Davis said. “He denies it but I don’t believe him. I believe the witnesses.”

“If you believe Kyle Rittenhouse,” Myers said, “it was the best thing he ever did in his life.”

“Not one person that’s on this jury,” Davis said. “Never worked a day in his life.”

Jurors continue deliberating Wednesday.

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