Waukesha Christmas parade trial: Man accused of ramming dozens of people is set to run again


The man accused of intentionally driving his SUV through a crowd of Christmas parade goers in Waukesha, Wisconsin, last year, killing six people and injuring dozens more, is expected to stand trial again for homicide on Thursday amid concerns about his mental health.

Darrell E. Brooks, 40, has been identified as the driver of a red SUV that rammed into a crowd of people celebrating the city’s Christmas parade on Nov. 21, 2021, turning a jolly afternoon into a massacre.

Brooks had been released from jail less than two weeks earlier in a domestic violence case, on a $1,000 bond that prosecutors recommended and have since stated was “inappropriately low”. In that case, he allegedly knocked down a woman who said she was the mother of his child, according to court documents.

Brooks is charged with six counts of intentional homicide with the use of a dangerous weapon, and more than 60 counts of first-degree reckless endangerment of security and six counts of fatal hit-and-run, according to an amended complaint.

The lawsuit is particularly unusual because Brooks is representing himself in court and has repeatedly disrupted court proceedings with provocative and outlandish behavior.

Jury selection began on Monday and quickly turned into a farce as Brooks repeatedly interrupted the judge, challenged her decisions and said he didn’t have enough time to prepare, CNN affiliate WISN reported. Judge Jennifer Dorow ordered Brooks to move to a separate courtroom to participate remotely and kept him on mute until it was her turn to speak.

“This court is day one, it is 2:15 p.m. this court within five minutes of the opening of court this morning had to remove Mr. Brooks due to his interruptions at that time,” Dorow said, according to WISN. .

In the other courtroom, Brooks could be seen talking to himself and making hand gestures while being mute. At one point, he rested his head on the table and pulled the top of his suit jacket over his head.

His interruptions from the courtroom continued on Thursday, which was supposed to be the start of opening statements. Judge Dorow again ordered that Brooks be removed from the courtroom to an adjoining room, and Brooks could then be seen on video with his shirt on and his back to the camera.

Prosecutors dismissed the notion that Brooks is mentally incompetent and said his interruptions and defiant actions were simply attempts to disrupt proceedings.

“These are deliberate actions on his part as we get ever closer to presenting this case to a jury, that he is trying to derail these proceedings and avoid the inevitable,” the court said. charge.

Judge Dorow agreed, saying she believed “it is Mr. Brooks’ sole intention to mock this process”.

Brooks previously pleaded not guilty to insanity, but his public defenders withdrew the insanity plea in September. The attorneys then filed a motion to withdraw from the case, and the judge decided to allow Brooks to represent himself at trial.

However, her mother, Dawn Woods, wrote to the judge and spoke to CNN affiliate WTMJ about her concerns that her son was not stable enough to defend himself. “I hate to say that,” Woods told the Affiliate. “You’re going to see manic, full-fledged.”

The trial will feature a series of witnesses who will have to recount the violence and chaos of the day of the attack.

The victims included an 8-year-old boy and three from Milwaukee’s “Dancing Grannies” who participated in the parade.

A parade video recorded by Angela O’Boyle, who was watching from the balcony of her fifth-floor apartment, shows the SUV hitting an individual in a marching band. The vehicle then continued forward, hitting and crushing other members of the group and the crowd before driving away.

“He hit at least two people straight away and knocked them down. And then I continued down the road to People’s Park which is at the end of the block — then I continued, it didn’t stop,” O’Boyle told CNN.

An officer described the vehicle as zigzagging, the complaint states.

Angelito Tenorio, another witness, said at the time that the scene was “absolutely chaotic”.

“No one knew if it was an attack or if it was an accident or if it was a deliberate attack on the people in the parade,” he said in an interview with CNN. “People just started fleeing, fleeing the scene, leaving their things behind, grabbing their children, calling out, screaming, looking for their loved ones.

“And when the crowd cleared up, that’s when it seemed to me that I saw people, who seemed to be lying in the middle of the street, motionless, lying lifeless.”

After allegedly knocking people over and fleeing the scene, Brooks drove to a stranger’s house, called for help and said he was homeless, a Waukesha resident said. The police finally arrived at the house and took Brooks into custody.

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