The judge overseeing the trial of the man accused of killing six people and injuring dozens in a 2021 Christmas parade said on Friday the defendant scared him in court.
Darrell Brooks Jr., 40, slammed the table with his fists and fell silent while staring at Judge Jennifer Dorow with a stare shortly after she said her accusations that the state trained its own witnesses” had absolutely no basis in fact”.
“This man right now is staring at me. It’s very disrespectful. He punched his fist. Frankly, it scares me,” Judge Jennifer Dorow said in court as the jury was out of court on Friday, calling for an interruption of the proceedings.
Brooks represented himself in a trial marked by his frequent interruptions and outbursts in what prosecutors called an attempt to “block, delay, disrupt, intimidate.”
Brooks is accused of driving a red SUV on the parade route in Waukesha, Wis., late last year and charged with six counts of first-degree intentional homicide, 61 counts of endangerment reckless security, six counts of hit and run causing death, two of bail jumping counts – all crimes related to the parade tragedy – and one misdemeanor battery count related to a incident with his ex-girlfriend.
Brooks was moved to another courtroom to participate multiple times on Friday, the judge’s latest move to control Brooks’ daily outbursts and interruptions. Dorow allowed Brooks to return to the main courtroom after a few breaks.
Brooks’ witnesses on Friday included his ex-girlfriend, whom he allegedly assaulted before driving the SUV down the parade route. He questioned the credibility of his witnesses and their recollections of what they saw at the parade.
He claimed that several of the witnesses had been “schooled” by the district attorney’s office, with Dorow’s statements being baseless.
At one point, Brooks said when redirecting witness Katrice Babiasz, a law enforcement dispatch supervisor who attended the parade, that it “seems to me like a lot of your responses are coached.”
“It almost sounds like you remember what you want to remember,” Brooks told Babiasz later during questioning, prompting State to object that he was harassing the witness.
The judge warned Brooks not to harass or “bully” his witnesses. When Brooks retorted, asking how he was intimidating Babiasz, Dorow said, “rolling his eyes, pursing his lips, making facial movements regarding his responses is harassing the witness.”
“You can’t be serious right now,” Brooks replied. “How are you even a judge? »
After Dorow interrupted the interrogations and excused the jury for the day, Brooks continued to raise his voice and claim that the court had “no integrity”. He was removed from the room one last time.
The prosecution closed its case on Thursday after more than a week and a half of testimonies from parade participants and people who saw the SUV drive into people, law enforcement officials who investigated and residents of the area where Brooks was arrested.
Brooks said he intended to call his mother as the last witness for his defense on Monday.
Contributors: Bruce Vielmetti and Quinn Clark, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel