Couple who allegedly rioted near where Kyle Rittenhouse shot in self-defense sentenced to prison for separate crime

News & Politics

A Wisconsin couple who were allegedly among the rioters in Kenosha in 2020 have now been sentenced to prison in connection with a separate violent offense.

Joshua Ziminski, 38, and Kelly Ziminski, 32, of Racine both have a criminal history. Joshua’s past is particularly troubling, as he has prior convictions for weapons charges and for violating restraining orders, Kenosha County Eye reported last year.

The two were also arrested and charged in connection to the 2020 riots in Kenosha. According to court documents cited by the Racine Journal Times, Joshua was standing near Kyle Rittenhouse on the night of August 25, 2020, and later admitted that he fired a “warning shot” just moments before Rittenhouse shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum in self-defense.

The Racine Journal Times claimed in November 2021, just before Rittenhouse was acquitted, that the couple were “at the center of Rittenhouse’s trial.”

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There are also allegations that Kelly and Joshua “blocked law enforcement vehicles” and that Kelly later recorded Joshua lighting a dumpster on fire that night. Joshua was charged with arson and two misdemeanors, and Kelly was charged with two misdemeanors in connection with those allegations.

In fact, Joshua was out on bond and Kelly was on probation a year ago when they apparently attempted to rob a man who had given Kelly a job. In August 2022, an unnamed 54-year-old man had hired Kelly — whom he knew by her porn name, “Bonnie,” according to the criminal complaint — to clean his apartment a few times a week because she claimed she needed money.

At 1:20 a.m. on August 26, 2022, Kelly knocked on the man’s door and asked to use the bathroom. As he worked “odd hours,” Kelly coming to clean at odd hours was likewise “common,” the criminal complaint said. So the man let her in but found it strange that two men, one of whom was later determined to be Joshua, walked in as well.

Joshua then pulled a knife and demanded the man give him all his money. Joshua and the unnamed male suspect also “threatened to kill [the victim] and bury him in a basement where no one would find him.”

The victim claimed he didn’t have any money in the apartment but could withdraw money from the bank. “Joshua then put the knife to the man’s back and pushed him outside into a full-sized GMC,” the criminal complaint said. The four then drove around to various gas stations where the victim attempted to withdraw money from the ATM, but was denied by every machine.

Finally, at their final stop, the victim managed to escape, “even with the men trying to stop him.” He went inside the gas station and asked a clerk to call 911.

Joshua later told police that he confronted the man because he had allegedly sexually assaulted Kelly. The man is not believed to have been charged in connection with that allegation.

The Ziminskis were both initially charged with five felonies — armed robbery, armed burglary, false imprisonment, intimidation of victim, and identity theft — and one count of misdemeanor battery. Joshua had also been charged with felony bail-jumping, while Kelly was charged with probation hold.

On May 30, 2023, they both pled guilty to burglary and robbery with threat of force. The other charges were dropped in accordance with their plea agreement. The charges connected with the 2020 riots were likewise dismissed.

Last week, Joshua was sentenced to three years in prison and Kelly was sentenced to 20 months. Both were also assessed probation and extended supervision sentences to be served after their prison terms end.

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