Waukesha parade suspect has ‘made a mockery of the trial’

Midwest

(NewsNation) — Darrell Brooks Jr., 40, faces 77 charges, including six counts of first-degree intentional homicide and 61 counts of reckless endangerment, for allegedly driving his vehicle into a Nov. 21 parade in downtown Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Brooks took the unusual step of dismissing his public defenders just days before his trial began this month, electing to represent himself.

At times, Brooks has refused to recognize his own name and has become so disruptive that Waukesha County Circuit Judge Jennifer Dorow ordered him removed from the courtroom. 

Brooks began his defense Thursday, again interrupting the judge several times. After the prosecution rested, Brooks began his fiery defense Friday in a continued disruptive fashion.

“You are not being respectful, you are disruptive, you are interrupting,” Judge Dorow said. “I will give you one more opportunity. Don’t interrupt me again. Don’t roll your eyes at me, don’t sigh at me.”

Investigators maintain Brooks drove into the parade route after fleeing a domestic disturbance with his ex-girlfriend, though police were not pursuing him at the time.

Brooks called his ex-girlfriend, Erika Patterson, to the stand. When he continued to cut off the judge and ask Patterson questions that were unrelated to the case, she was excused.

“It is from my perspective a clear attempt to kind of turn us in a direction away from what we’re doing, perhaps even to stall and to delay. That’s my perspective. (Brooks interrupts.) I’m making a ruling. You’re doing it again,” Judge Dorow said.

Brooks replied, “Because it has no validity.”

After multiple additional disruptions, Dorow removed Brooks from the courtroom and the defendant had to watch from another courtroom.

“(It is) a very clear indication to this court that he is attempting and trying and actually disrupting the proceedings so that I can’t make an accurate record,” Dorow said. “Like I said, it’s challenging. That is why he is in the other courtroom, muted.”

NewsNation’s Ashleigh Banfield said she’s “never seen anything like it.”

“Basically, what you just witnessed was an extraordinarily patient judge trying to preserve the record,” Banfield said. “Every single moment of his horrendous and disrespectful behavior.”

NewsNation’s Dan Abrams said Brooks’ daily sparring sessions with the judge have undercut the proceedings.

“He’s made a mockery of the trial, explosive outbursts daily sparring sessions with the judge, nonsensical questioning of witnesses. And the moment where he took off, of course, his shirt in court,” Abrams said. “At one point, he was tossed from the courtroom for his behavior.”

Dorow brought Brooks back into the courtroom but warned him that she would remove him again if there were any more disruptions — and there were.

Law & Crime Network’s Jesse Weber weighed in on “Dan Abrams Live,” saying, “In that whole defense, he never said he didn’t do it. He never said what his defense is going to be.”

The trial is expected to last through Oct. 28. Brooks faces life in prison if convicted.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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