After a trial filled with interruptions, disruption, and frustration, Milwaukee resident Darrell Brooks was found guilty of six counts of first-degree intentional homicide after crashing his SUV into a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, a suburb outside of Milwaukee, on Nov. 21, 2021. A sixth victim, a child, died later of injuries sustained during the attack. Closing arguments were given Tuesday, with the jury returning a quick verdict on Wednesday.
“Burn in hell, you piece of shit,” someone yelled from the gallery before being removed by the judge. Brooks buried his head in his hands as all 76 charges — including several of endangering safety — were read. He was found guilty on all counts. When asked if he was satisfied by the polling of the jury, Brooks muttered, “No.” Court will resume Monday to determine the scheduling of sentencing.
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Jackson Sparks, 8, Tamara Durand, 52, Jane Kulich, 52, Leanna “Lee” Owen, 71, Virginia Sorenson, 79, and Wilhelm Hospel, 81, died following Brooks’ collision.
Brooks defended himself during the trial, which lasted four weeks, saying during his closing argument, per Law & Crime, that he did not mean to kill anyone. “I’ve never heard of someone intentionally trying to hurt someone while attempting to blow their horn,” he said. Prosecutors accused Brooks of committing the vehicular murders after abusing his ex-girlfriend, Erika Patterson.
Waukesha County District Attorney Susan Opper countered, “Just stop driving. That’s it. It’s really that simple.” Brooks, who was reportedly only driving 30 miles per hour, hit 68 people. “Actions define a person,” Opper said. “You can stand with the Bible in your hands all day long and profess to be the finest man under God that you can be. But when you drive through a parade route and roll over children, children with band instruments… your intent is known.”
Brooks — who claims to be a “sovereign citizen” and thus not subject to any government’s laws — was often combative during the trial, arguing not only with the DA but with Judge Jennifer Dorow. According to Fox, the court took six recesses yesterday before lunch as Brooks fought with Dorow.
Due to his antics, Brooks’ trial has become big on true crime TikTok; more than 200,000 watched the verdict live via Law & Crime. Previously, Rep. Dan Crenshaw attempted to make his murders a political issue on Fox & Friends, accusing George Soros and Democratic donors of “funding far-left, radical DAs and prosecutors” who let him go free on bail days before the attack. A few weeks before the attack, Brooks was accused of using his vehicle to run over the mother of his child. She survived.
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