Six-killer In Christmas Parade Gets Life, No Parole

A court sentenced a man who drove his SUV through a suburban Milwaukee Christmas parade to life in prison Wednesday, dismissing his and his family’s assertions that mental illness pushed him to do it.

Darrell Brooks Jr., 40, was sentenced on 76 charges, including six counts of first-degree intentional killing and 61 counts of reckless endangerment.

Six-killer In Christmas Parade Gets Life, No Parole
Six-killer In Christmas Parade Gets Life, No Parole

Each murder conviction carries a mandatory life sentence, and the only question Wednesday was whether Dorow would let Brooks spend any of those terms on extended supervision in the community, the state’s form of parole. Nope. Wisconsin is death-penalty-free.

Dorow’s announcement of life sentences was hailed. She then sentenced him to 762 years for endangering.

Dorow told Brooks, “Nobody is safe from you.” “This community can only be secure if you’re locked up forever.” You caused damage, turmoil, death, injury, and fear by driving through the Christmas parade.

Dorow moved Brooks to a video courtroom after he disrupted her pre-sentencing speech. As the judge pronounced the punishments, he stood immobile in handcuffs.

Brooks’ victims wanted a harsh penalty from Dorow Tuesday. Chris Owens, whose mother was slain, warned Brooks, “Rot slowly.”

After fighting with his ex-girlfriend, Brooks drove his red Ford Escape into the Waukesha parade on Nov. 21, 2021. Jackson Sparks, 8, and three members of the Dancing Grannies were slain. Many were hurt.

After fighting with his ex-girlfriend, Brooks drove his red Ford Escape into the Waukesha parade on Nov. 21, 2021. Jackson Sparks, 8, and three members of the Dancing Grannies were slain. Many were hurt.

Brooks told the judge on Wednesday that he’s had mental illness since childhood and didn’t aim to drive onto the procession path. He also apologized to anyone who were wounded or lost loved ones.

Brooks, who defended himself at trial, said he grew up fatherless, penniless, and hungry in rat-infested apartments. Brooks claimed he’s had mental health concerns since childhood and was physically molested, but he didn’t disclose by whom. He believed life was better when he took medicine and spent time in mental hospitals.

“As I stated, people may believe what they want. 21 November 2021 was not an assault. Brooks remarked, “This wasn’t planned or orchestrated. It wasn’t, no matter how often you repeat it.

Brooks apologized to victims’ families.

“I’m sorry you couldn’t see what was in my heart,” he said. “You can’t see my regret”

Brooks didn’t explain why he turned the SUV into the procession or what he was thinking. When Dorow asked him what punishment he should receive, he answered, “Help me.”

Brooks’ mother and grandmother pleaded with Dorow to put him in a mental hospital. Mary Edwards, his grandmother, claimed Brooks’ mental instability drove him to drive into the procession. Dawn Woods encouraged Dorow to treat Brooks in jail.

“If they have to be away from society forever, at least they’re receiving mental health care,” Woods added.

As his mother said, Brooks wept.

Dorow said before handing down the penalties that she doesn’t think Brooks is mentally ill, citing the findings of four psychologists who assessed him earlier this year.

Mental health difficulties didn’t trigger what he did on Nov. 21, 2021, the court ruled. “It’s evident he knows right from wrong, but he ignores his conscience. He’s full of wrath.

Dorow spent Tuesday hearing to victims seek Brooks’ maximum penalty. One by one, they recalled desperately looking for their children in the aftermath, the suffering their children have faced as they heal from injuries, and the grief they feel as they deal with the death of their loved ones.

DA Susan Opper requested Dorow on Tuesday to make the sentences concurrent so they stack up “just like he piled victims up as he drove,” with no option of extended supervision.

Brooks’ monthlong trial was peppered by unpredictable outbursts. He wouldn’t say his name, interrupted Dorow, and wouldn’t stop talking. The judge moved Brooks to another courtroom many times so she could silence his microphone when he was disruptive, as she did Wednesday.

 

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