A threat made against a witness in a Racine homicide case could land a 21-year-old Racine man in prison for six years.
Kirrionta V. Rhinehouse was charged Wednesday in Racine County Circuit Court with a felony charge of battery or threat to a witness and four misdemeanor counts of bail jumping.
The felony carries a fine of $10,000 and six years in prison. Each of the misdemeanor counts carries a fine of $10,000 and nine months in county jail.
According to the criminal complaint: The victim, who had just testified in the homicide case against Jonathan Bell, told a deputy with the Racine Police Department that as he walked to his car, an unknown man and two women came up to him behind. The man, later identified as Rhinehouse, stated: “I don’t want to disrespect you in front of your grandma, but when I catch up with you, your (sic) gonna catch some shells.” The man understood that as a threat and that Rhinehouse was telling him he was going to be shot for testifying, according to reports.
Police received a description and the license plate number and learned the vehicle was registered to the defendant. In an interview with police, the defendant admitted he approached the witness but denied telling him he was going to “catch shells.”
Court records indicate that Rhinehouse is free on bond in four separate misdemeanor cases in Racine County, which led to the bail-jumping charges. The records also show that the defendant was convicted in 2013 of second-degree sexual assault a child, so he is charged as a repeat offender in this case.
Rhinehouse is due back in court Oct. 25 for an 8:30 a.m. preliminary hearing.
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