Darrell Brooks was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of prolonged supervision on Wednesday for driving his SUV into a crowd of Christmas parade attendees in Waukesha, Wisconsin last November, killing six people and injuring dozens more.
Brooks, 40, was found guilty by a jury last month of 76 counts stemming from the 2021 Christmas parade attack, including six counts of first-degree intentional homicide with the use of a dangerous weapon .
On Wednesday, after two days of impassioned statements from victims and family members, Judge Jennifer Dorow imposed the sentence prescribed by law, ordering Brooks to serve a life sentence without the possibility of prolonged supervision for each of the six counts of first-degree intentional homicide with the use of a dangerous weapon. Sentences will be consecutive, the judge said.
“You have absolutely no remorse for anything you do. You have no empathy for anyone,” Dorow told Brooks. “Frankly, Mr. Brooks, no one is safe from you,” she continued.
Brooks spoke for more than two hours on Wednesday afternoon, telling the court that he too struggled to understand why this tragic incident happened.
“That’s a question I struggle with,” Brooks said. “The why, the how. How could life have gotten so far from what it should be? Regardless of what many people may think of me, who I am, my family, my beliefs, I know who I am. God knows who I am. And I have no angry words,” he continued.
During his remarks, Brooks, who has represented himself, once apologized to the victims and the Waukesha community, saying no one can see the remorse he feels.
“I want you to know not only that I’m sorry for what happened, but that you couldn’t see what’s really in my heart. That you can’t see the remorse I have” Brooks told the court, “That you can’t count all the tears I’ve shed this year.”
Dorow also spoke at length about Brooks’ mental health, a topic his family members discussed during the hearing.
“I am of the opinion that mental health issues did not cause him to do what he did on November 21, 2021. And frankly did not play a role,” the judge said, citing passages and opinions of four physician assessments of Brooks’ mental health. .
Prosecutors on Tuesday asked the judge to sentence Brooks to the maximum sentence for all convictions stemming from the attack.
“He deserves the absolute maximum sentence on all counts, consecutive,” Waukesha County District Attorney Susan Opper told the judge.
“You have seen the videos. He wasn’t the one rushing into a large group of fifty people at a time and punching them. It was linear. He hit one, went on. Strike two, carry on. Hit three, carry on. All at the end of the street. These are consecutive sentences, your honor. This is intentional, willful, willful conduct that warrants consecutive sentences piled on top of each other, just as he piled the victims on while driving down the road in complete disregard of anyone else, whoever they may be. “Opper continued.
The jury also found Brooks guilty of 61 counts of recklessly endangering security with the use of a dangerous weapon, six counts of fatal hit and run, two counts of felony bail jumping and of a domestic battery chief for misdemeanor.
The victims and their loved ones had the opportunity to speak on Tuesday about what they lost and endured.
Among the more than 40 people who gave statements in court were relatives of Virginia Sorenson, who was part of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies Troupe which lost three of its members in the attack, WTMJ reported.
“I will continue to struggle with the loss,” Sorenson’s husband David said. “I’m lucky to have a family that cares for me and wraps me in love so I can start to put the broken life back together that I have now.”
While some victims addressing the court said they were willing to forgive the killer, Sorenson told the judge: ‘I ask you to send this evil animal to prison for life without the possibility of parole for the ruthless murder. of my wife”. WTMJ reported.
Dancing Grannies talk about loving what they do months before parade tragedy
– Source: CNN
Alisha Kulich, the daughter of Jane Kulich, 52, who was killed attending the parade, lamented that her mother missed so many important milestones in her life and that of her siblings – and Jane’s grandchildren Kulich – the station reported.
“She won’t be able to see me take my vows or marry the love of my life,” Alisha Kulich said. “And she’ll never see my future children, and they won’t know what it’s like to have a grandma who spoils them.”
Besides Sorenson and Kulich, Jackson Sparks, 8, Tamara Durand, 52, Lee Owen, 71, and Wilhelm Hospel, 81, were killed. Sparks walked with his baseball team during the parade. Durand and Owen were Dancing Grannies, along with Sorenson, and Hospel was the husband of a Dancing Granny who survived the attack.
Prosecutors provided evidence showing that Brooks intentionally walked through the crowd. In a criminal complaintan officer who walked in front of Brooks’ vehicle, ordering him to stop, said Brooks looked at him “directly, and it looked like he had no emotion on his face.”
The SUV passed the officer and sped up, stopped at an intersection, then sped up again — tires squeal — and began to zigzag as “bodies and objects” flew by, the complaint says, adding that another witness said Brooks was trying to avoid vehicles, rather than people, and made no attempt to slow down.
In a tearful plea, Brooks postulated what the reaction would be if the car malfunctioned and was unable to stop and the driver panicked. He claimed there was a recall on the vehicle he was driving, but Dorow struck the remarks from the record.
“He hit speeds of about 30 miles per hour. That’s intentional,” the district attorney said. “He went through 68 different people. Sixty-eight. How can you hit one and keep going? How can you hit two and keep going?
A jury also returned guilty verdicts on 61 counts of recklessly endangering security with the use of a dangerous weapon, six counts of fatal hit-and-run, two counts of felony jump bail and one misdemeanor count of domestic battery. It was a sweep for the prosecution.
He was belligerent and disruptive at trial, often speaking over Dorow to make outlandish arguments. Dorow sometimes placed Brooks in a separate room, where he could participate via a monitor and was muted unless it was his turn to speak. Brooks was sent to this room twice on Wednesday after speaking to the judge as she asked him to stop.
SUV hits marching band during Wisconsin holiday parade
Brooks’ mother, Dawn Woods, said she was worried her son wouldn’t be able to defend himself and asked the judge not to allow him, WTMJ reported.
“He’s not mentally stable enough to fully understand the big mistake he’s making in wanting to represent himself,” she said, according to WTMJ. “That alone should be enough to show that he is not capable of being his own advocate.”
Brooks had been charged in a domestic abuse case and released from jail on $1,000 bond less than two weeks before the parade. He was accused of running over a woman who claimed to be the mother of his child, according to court documents. Prosecutors later admitted the bond set was “inappropriate”.