Guilty verdict in SUV Christmas Parade attack

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26 Oct 2022, 2:59 pm

Man who drove SUV into Waukesha Christmas parade found guilty of intentional homicide

Quote:
Darrell Brooks was found guilty of six counts of first-degree intentional homicide on Wednesday for driving his SUV into a crowd of Christmas parade attendees in Waukesha, Wisconsin, last November, killing six people and wounding dozens more.

He faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison for the convictions.

Brooks, 40, also was convicted of 61 counts of recklessly endangering safety with the use of a dangerous weapon, six counts of fatal hit and run, two counts of felony bail jumping and one count of misdemeanor domestic battery – a clean sweep for the prosecution.

Brooks represented himself in court and has been combative throughout the trial, repeatedly speaking over the judge to make inane and outlandish arguments. Yet as the stream of guilty verdicts were read Wednesday, he looked down, put his head on his hands and sat silently.

The trial comes less than a year after he drove a red SUV through the crowd in Waukesha’s Christmas parade on November 21, killing an 8-year-old boy and several members of the “Dancing Grannies” group.

Brooks had been released from jail less than two weeks prior in a domestic abuse case, on a $1,000 bail that prosecutors later acknowledged was “inappropriately low.” In that case, he allegedly ran over a woman who said she’s the mother of his child, according to court documents.

Prosecutors said in closing arguments Tuesday he intentionally drove through the crowd at significant speeds and hit 68 individual parade-goers, turning a joyous afternoon into a horrific one.

In his own closing arguments, Brooks attempted to raise questions about the vehicle and about his intent. He repeatedly said there had been “misconceptions” and “lies” told about him during the trial.

“I’ve never heard of someone trying to intentionally hurt someone while attempting to blow their horn while attempting to alert people of their presence,” Brooks said.

Jurors deliberated on Tuesday night for just under two hours and then resumed again on Wednesday morning.

In court, a series of videos and witnesses detailed the disturbing sights of the SUV ramming through the parade route.

Brooks’ trial has been marked by his unusual decision to represent himself in court and his persistent disruptions. Throughout the trial, he has spoken over prosecutors and the judge, asked vague questions, challenged the court’s jurisdiction and declared “Darrell Brooks” is not his name.

Judge Jennifer Dorow has repeatedly removed Brooks from the court for his outbursts and placed him in a nearby courtroom, where he can communicate via a monitor and microphone which is most often muted.

On Tuesday, after removing him for the prosecution’s closing arguments due to interruptions, she called him “stubbornly defiant.”

“He continues to not respect the fact that a ruling has been made, and he wants to argue and reargue and reargue points that this court has already gone over,” she said.

Opper, the prosecuting attorney, told jurors in her closing arguments not to be distracted in their deliberations by Brooks’ conduct during the trial.

“You must not, not, not consider anything about Darrell Brooks other than his conduct in downtown Waukesha on the evening of November 21, 2021,” Opper told the jury. “Nothing he’s done before that, nothing he’s done since that. When you go back to that deliberation room, please obey Judge Dorow. Confine your comments to his conduct on November 21.”


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