Outbursts, delays in start of deadly Waukesha parade trial

Midwest

Darrell Brooks Jr., left, speaks with his attorney Jeremy Perri, during a jury status hearing on Friday, Sept. 9, 2022 in Waukesha County Court in Waukesha, Wis. Brooks, accused of killing six people and injuring dozens of others when he allegedly drove his SUV through a Christmas parade in Wisconsin last year, withdrew his insanity plea Friday. (Scott Ash/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP)

WAUKESHA, Wis. (NewsNation) — The trial of the man accused of killing six people by driving his car into a Christmas parade in Wisconsin last year began this week with courtroom interruptions by the suspect who has chosen to represent himself.

This image provided by the Waukesha County Sheriff Office in Waukesha, Wis., shows Darrell Brooks, the suspect in a Christmas parade crash in suburban Milwaukee that killed five people. Brooks was due in court Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021, where five homicide charges were expected to be filed, a crime that can carry the stiffest penalty possible under Wisconsin law — mandatory life in prison. (Waukesha County Sheriff Office/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP)

Darrell Brooks, 40, faces 77 charges, including six counts of first-degree intentional homicide and 61 counts of reckless endangerment for allegedly driving his vehicle into the Nov. 21 parade in downtown Waukesha despite police warnings to stop.

Each homicide charge carries a mandatory life sentence.

In court, Brooks has become so disruptive the judge has had to take multiple breaks. He’s now being forced to watch the proceedings via video from another room.

On Wednesday, Brooks requested an adjournment because he believes he has COVID-19, FOX6 Milwaukee reports. The outlet also reported prosecutors said he was heard telling his mother on the phone that he was going to delay the trial.

Brooks initially pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease, but he withdrew that plea in September. Last week he persuaded Waukesha County Judge Jennifer Dorow to allow him to represent himself.

Before prospective jurors were led into the courtroom Monday morning, Brooks repeatedly interrupted Dorow, saying he didn’t recognize the state of Wisconsin or Dorow as a judge. Dorow called a recess and sent Brooks back to his cell.

The ages of the people killed ranged from 8 to 81 years old, and more than 60 other people were injured, including at least 18 children.

Brooks, who was out on bail from a domestic abuse charge at the time of the attack, faces life in prison if convicted of the most serious charges.

Hundreds of people witnessed the attack, several recording cellphone videos, some of whom are expected to be called to testify by prosecutors from the Waukesha County district attorney’s office.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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