Darrell Brooks sentenced to life in prison for 2021 Waukesha Christmas parade attack



CNN

Darrell Brooks was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of extended supervision 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 on all 76 counts of the 2021 Christmas parade attack, including six counts of first-degree intentional homicide by use of a dangerous weapon.

On Wednesday, after two days of emotional statements from victims and family members, Judge Jennifer Dorow imposed the statutorily required sentence, ordering Brooks to serve life without the possibility of extended supervision on each of the six counts of first-degree intentional homicide and . use of dangerous weapons. The sentence will run consecutively, the judge said.

“You have absolutely no remorse for anything you’ve done. You have no empathy for anybody,” Dorow told Brooks. “Frankly, Mr. Brooks, no one is safe from you,” she said.

Brooks spoke for more than two hours Wednesday afternoon, telling the court that he too is struggling to understand why this tragic event happened.

“That’s a question I struggle with myself,” Brooks said. “Why, how. How can life be so far from what it should be? No matter what many people think about me, about who I am, about my family, about my beliefs, I know who I am. God knows who I am. And I don’t have words for anger,” he said.

During his speech, Brooks, who represented himself, only once apologized to the victims and the Waukesha community, saying that no one could see the remorse he felt.

“I want you to know it’s not just that I’m sorry for what happened, I’m sorry you can’t see what’s in my heart. That you can’t see the remorse that I have,” Brooks told the court. “That you can’t count all the tears that I have down this year.”

Dorow also spoke at length about Brooks’ mental health, a topic his family spoke about during the trial.

“It is my 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 excerpts and opinions from Brooks’ four mental health evaluations from doctors. .

Prosecutors asked the judge Tuesday to sentence Brooks to the maximum sentence for all convictions stemming from the attack.

“He deserves the absolute maximum sentence on all counts, consecutively,” Waukesha County District Attorney Susan Opper told the judge.

“You see the video. It’s not him plowing into a big group of fifty people at a time and hitting them. It’s linear. He hits one, then goes. Hit two, then goes. Tap three, then goes. All the way down. It’s a consecutive sentence, respectfully. It’s a deliberate, deliberate, deliberate act that warrants consecutive sentences piled one on top of the other like he piled up his victims when he left the road ignoring other people,” said Opper.

The jury also found Brooks guilty on 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.

Victims and their loved ones were given a chance to speak Tuesday about what they lost and endured.

Among the more than 40 people who submitted statements to the court were relatives of Virginia Sorenson, part of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies troupe that lost three members in the attack, WTMJ reported.

“I will continue to struggle with the loss,” said Sorenson’s husband, David. “I am lucky to have a family that takes care of me and wraps me in love so that I can begin to glue together the life that I now have.”

When several victims who spoke to the court said they were willing to forgive the killer, Sorenson told the judge, “I’m asking you to send this evil animal to life in prison with no chance of parole for my wife’s murder,” WTMJ reported.

Milwaukee dancing grannies

The Dancing Grannies talk about what love they did a few months before the parade tragedy

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– Source: CNN

Alisha Kulich, the daughter of 52-year-old Jane Kulich, who was killed while attending the parade, mourned that her mother will miss many milestones in her and her siblings’ – and Jane Kulich’s grandchildren’s – lives, the station reported.

“He won’t be able to see me say my vows or marry the love of my life,” Alisha Kulich said. “And she’ll never see my future children, and they’ll never know what it’s like to have a grandmother who ruined them.”

From top left clockwise, Lee Owen, Tamara Durand, Virginia Sorenson, Jackson Sparks, Jane Kulich and Wilhelm Hospel.

In addition to Sorenson and Kulich, Jackson Sparks, 8, Tamara Durand, 52, Lee Owen, 71, and Wilhelm Hospel, 81, were killed. Sparks walks with his baseball team during the parade. Durand and Owen are the Dancing Grannies, and Sorenson, and Hospel are the husbands of the Dancing Granny who survive the attack.

Prosecutors provided evidence showing Brooks intentionally drove through the crowd. In the criminal complaint, an officer who stepped in front of Brooks’ vehicle, ordering him to stop, said Brooks looked “right at him, and it looked like he had no emotion on his face.”

The SUV passed the officer and accelerated, stopped at an intersection, then accelerated again – tires squealing – and began zig-zagging as “body and objects” flew, the complaint said, adding that another witness said Brooks tried to avoid the vehicle, slightly. from the people, and did not try to slow down.

In a tearful closing argument, Brooks posited what would be the reaction if the car malfunctioned and could not stop and the driver panicked. He claimed there was a recall on the vehicle he was driving, but Dorow attacked the comment from the note.

“He reached a speed of approximately 30 miles per hour. It was intentional,” said the district attorney. “He hit 68 different people. Sixty eight. How can you hit one and continue? How can you hit two and move on?”

A jury also handed down a guilty verdict on 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. That’s a clean sweep for the prosecution.

In June, Brooks entered a plea of ​​not guilty by reason of insanity, but his public defender withdrew in September. They then withdrew from representing Brooks, and Dorow allowed Brooks to represent himself.

He was belligerent and disruptive at trial, often telling Dorow to make an extraordinary argument. Dorow sometimes put Brooks in a separate room, where he could take part of the monitor and be muted unless it was his turn to speak. Brooks was sent to the room twice Wednesday after telling a judge when he demanded he stop.

waukesha parade suv marching band angela o'boyle chen

SUV hits marching band during Wisconsin holiday parade

Brooks’ mother, Dawn Woods, expressed concern that her son was unable to defend himself and asked the judge not to allow it, WTMJ reported.

“He’s not mentally stable enough to fully understand the big mistake he’s made by wanting to represent himself,” he said, according to WTMJ. “That alone is enough to see that he is not capable of being a lawyer himself.”

Brooks had been charged in a domestic abuse case and was released from jail on $1,000 bail 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 bail set was “inappropriate.”

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