Jury deliberations resume in Waukesha Christmas parade attack trial

(CBS/AP) — A Wisconsin jury will resume deliberations on Wednesday in the trial of the man accused of killing six people and injuring several others while driving an SUV in the Christmas parade in Waukesha last year.

Darrell Brooks faces 76 counts related to the attack, including six counts of first-degree intentional homicide, and would face life in prison if convicted on any of the homicide counts.

Brooks represented himself in what was a chaotic trial, spending every day of the trial arguing with Judge Jennifer Dorow, refusing to acknowledge his own name and insisting the state has no no jurisdiction over him. On several occasions, the judge asked bailiffs to move him to another courtroom where he could watch the proceedings on video, but she could mute his microphone when he became disruptive.

Brooks initially pleaded not guilty by reason of mental illness, but withdrew his plea in September without explanation. Just days before his trial began on October 3, he fired his public defenders and opted to represent himself.

In her closing arguments on Tuesday, Waukesha County District Attorney Susan Opper said Brooks’ failure to stop after hitting the first person in the parade shows he intended to kill people , she said.

“Just stop driving. That’s it. It’s really that simple. No one must have been hurt that day if they just stopped driving,” Opper said. “He went through 68 different people. Sixty-eight. How can you hit one and go on? How can you hit two and go on? How can you hit three and go on? bewildered. He kept going until he got to the end and there was no more body to hit.”

She concluded her remarks by releasing a video of what she said was “the carnage” Brooks caused during the parade.

The live stream the Associated Press used to view the trial did not turn to the video, but Judge Dorow appeared to wince at one point while watching it, and Assistant District Attorney Lesli Boese appeared to choke. his tears.

Brooks attempted to argue that the SUV was recalled due to a malfunctioning throttle. After Opper objected — a Wisconsin State Patrol vehicle inspector testified earlier in the trial that the vehicle was in good working order, including the brakes — he suggested the driver had maybe panicked. He noted that some witnesses said they heard the SUV’s horn honk.

He didn’t fully acknowledge he was the driver, but said that at night, when he’s alone in his cell, he often asks questions about how “it” happened. But he never wondered if “this” was intentional because he knows it wasn’t. He did not explain what he was referring to with the word “this”.

“Throughout this year I’ve been called a lot of things,” Brooks said. “And to be honest, I’m a lot of things. A murderer isn’t one of them.”

“You have to look in the mirror, Mr. Brooks,” Opper said in his rebuttal. “Your actions are those of a murderer.”

Prosecutors allege Brooks got into an argument with his ex-girlfriend on the streets of Waukesha as the parade began Nov. 21, fled in his SUV, and drove him into the parade. Opper told the jury that she didn’t know why Brooks entered the parade, other than that he was furious.

In addition to the homicide counts, he faces 61 counts of reckless endangerment. Each count of homicide carries a mandatory life sentence. Each count of reckless endangerment carries a maximum sentence of 17½ years in prison.


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