‘It’s brief relief… but then the pain comes back’: Friend of Waukesha Christmas parade victims says justice has been served after killer Darrell Brooks is found GUILTY on all 76 charges and faces life in jail
- Darrell Brooks, 40, was found guilty of committing first-degree homicide on Wednesday after he plowed his SUV into a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin last year
- He sat motionless, looking down in court hiding behind his arms as the verdict was read
- Brooks had tried to delay the verdict, repeatedly objecting and asking Judge Jennifer Dorow for an appeal, which she denied. He also noted for the record that he still has shock cuffs around his ankles
- In the moments before the verdict was read, one man in the galley could be heard shouting: ‘Burn in hell you piece of sh**’
- Brooks now faces life in prison despite pleading not guilty to the charges, including six counts of intentional homicide
A friend of some of the six people killed last year when Darrell Brooks plowed his SUV into a Christmas parade said that justice has finally been served with the killers’ conviction on Wednesday.
Brooks, 40, was found guilty of all 76 charges against him, including six counts of first-degree intentional homicide, as his rollercoaster trial comes to a close.
The 12-person jury in Waukesha County convicted the 40-year-old of murdering six people at the parade as well as a stream of charges for recklessly endangering safety while using a dangerous weapon.
Afterwards, Laurie Hogeland, a friend of some of the victims told reporters how relieved she is with the veridct.
‘It was a brief moment of relief,’ she said. ‘But, then all the pain comes back. The pain comes back.’
The verdict comes after a bizarre trial that saw Brooks thrown out of the room multiple times for pulling stunts including taking his top off and holding up signs.
He also gave the judge a ‘stare-down’ which she branded disrespectful and ‘frankly, makes me scared.’ Brooks continued to stare at the judge while banging his fists on the table.
Darrell Brooks, 40, sat motionless, burying his head in his hands as he was found guilty of first-degree intentional homicide Wednesday morning
Brooks was found guilty of all 76 charges lodged against him, including six counts of first-degree intentional homicide
His subdued demeanor was a stark departure from previous days of the trial, when his sometimes-outrageous behavior drew rebukes from the judge
He had repeatedly tried to delay the verdict, repeatedly objecting and asking Judge Jennifer Dorow (pictured) for an appeal, which she denied
He bowed his head and buried his head in his hands as the first count was read, before an unidentified person in the courtroom — presumed to be a member of one of the victim’s families — yelled out: ‘Burn in hell you piece of sh**.’ The judge booted the man out of the court before continuing to read out the 76 charges against the kille.
It took the jury a little over three hours to find Brooks guilty of all 76 charges, including six counts of first-degree intentional homicide. He faces a mandatory life sentence on each homicide count.
Brooks bowed his head and buried his head in his hands as the first count was read, before an unidentified person in the courtroom — presumed to be a member of one of the victim’s families — yelled out: ‘Burn in hell you piece of sh**.’ The judge booted the man out of the court before continuing to read out the 76 charges against the killer.
His subdued demeanor was a stark departure from previous days of the trial, when his sometimes-outrageous behavior drew rebukes from the judge.
Judge Jennifer Dorow scheduled a hearing Monday to set a sentencing date. Victims and their families are expected to make statements then.
In a statement, Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly said: ‘I am thankful that the jury found the defendant guilty on all counts. We can now re-focus on taking steps forward as a community and continue the healing process.’
Police Chief Dan Thompson also said: ‘In the nearly one year since this tragedy, there has not been a day that our community has not grieved.
‘The victims’ families as well as our first responders continue to deal with the lasting effects of the horrors of that day.
‘We are grateful for the support that has come from all over the world and we ask you to continue to keep all those involved in your prayers.’
Over the course of the trial, prosecutors have laid bare how Brooks deliberately drove his SUV through police barricades and into the crowds participating in the annual parade in the city of Waukesha, about 15 miles west of downtown Milwaukee on November 21.
He was out on bail from a domestic abuse charge at the time of the attack, and was arrested near the scene.
Brooks has been in custody ever since and had pleaded not guilty to the charges, announcing in court on Tuesday that his ‘conscience is clear’ and suggested the deaths were ‘God’s will’ even as he wiped away a tear.
have said Brooks deliberately drove his SUV through police barricades and into the crowds participating in the annual parade in the city of Waukesha on November 21, 2021
Six people were killed in the crash and more than 60 people — including at least 18 children — were injured
Brooks had elected to represent himself in his trial, but his repeated interruptions, outbursts and other erratic behavior eventually led Judge Jennifer Dorow to remove him from the courtroom, later admitting she’s frightened of him.
He had tried to argue in court that his SUV had been recalled due to a throttle malfunction, saying he had no intention of hurting anyone and noting he sounded the vehicle’s horn as he drove through the crowd.
Then when District Attorney Sue Opper objected, noting a Wisconsin State Patrol vehicle inspector testified earlier in the trial that the vehicle was in good working order, including the brakes, he suggested the driver might have panicked.
He didn’t quite acknowledge at that point that he was the driver, but said that at night when he’s alone in his cell he often asks questions how ‘this’ happened.
Still, he said, he never asked himself whether ‘this’ was intentional, saying he knows it wasn’t. He didn’t explain what he was referring to by using the word ‘this.’
‘Throughout this year I’ve been called a lot of things,’ Brooks told the jurors in his closing argument Tuesday. ‘And to be fair I am a lot of things. A murderer is not one of them.’
He also told the jury during opening statements to remember that there are two sides to every story, while repeatedly mentioning the amount of ‘suffering’ the parade incident had created – his own included.
Brooks insisted that nothing that happened during the parade attack last November was intentional, and tearfully bemoaned the names – such as ‘monster’ and ‘demon’ – he had been called in the press since his arrest.
He concluded by telling the jury that he wanted them to see him for who he truly was, and told them the power was in their hands to determine what was truth and what wasn’t.
Accused Waukesha, Wisconsin parade killer Darrell Brooks is set to learn his fate with a jury set to deliver a verdict in his homicide trial
Brooks, 40, allegedly plowed through the crowd at a Christmas parade in Waukesha , Wisconsin on November 21, 2021, killing six people between the ages of eight and 81, and injuring more than 60 people. On Tuesday, he wiped away tears as he gave a closing statement in his defense to the jury (pictured)
But his words did not seem to mesh with the character he presented throughout the trial, as he engaged in a variety of antics that saw him get kicked out of the courtroom.
Among them, on Friday, Judge Dorow said Brooks was giving her a ‘stare-down,’ which she called disrespectful and ‘frankly, makes me scared.’ He then continued to stare at the judge while banging his fists on the table.
It came after Brooks accused the prosecution of coaching his own witnesses, an allegation Dorow said ‘has no basis in fact,’ USA Today reported.
He had previously been removed from the courtroom to participate virtually, and had yelled that the court had ‘no integrity’ after the jury had been excused for the day.
At times, Brooks also refused to recognize his own name and muttered under his breath about the trial not being fair as he objected to almost every question prosecutors have asked of witnesses, usually to no avail.
And at one point, Brooks stuffed a laminated sign reading ‘objection’ into the waistband of his orange prison attire after the judge muted his microphone so she could read off his 77 charges without interruption.
Brooks had also made a scene at court appearances prior to the actual trial, falling asleep several times and accusing the judge of ‘acting like you know me.
‘People like you don’t know nothing about where I come from,’ he said.
Brooks was also heard saying he was ‘bored’ by proceedings, and raged at sheriff’s deputies as they led him out of court at Judge Dorow’s instructions.
The accused called the trial ‘political’ and continued to verbally batter the judge. At one point, Brooks told Dorow that he didn’t want to be there and wanted to return to his cell.
Once in another courtroom, Darrel Brooks, 40, appeared without his shirt off, and repeatedly kept his back to the camera
Brooks also stuffed a laminated sign reading ‘objection’ into the waistband of his orange prison attire after the judge muted his microphone so she could read off his 77 charges without interruption
Prior to the trial, Brooks tried to get the case against him thrown out on grounds of insanity, but he withdrew the plea early last month without explaining why.
But Dorow continually refused to back down, and after sending Brooks off to another courtroom explained that she would not back down despite his attempts to make a ‘mockery’ of the proceedings.
‘It’s very clear to this court that everything that he has done as outlined by the state and as made evident the court of this proceeding that it is the sole intent of Mr. Brooks to make mockery of this process,’ she said, as Brooks could be seen on a video feed with his shirtless back to the camera.
‘It’s important for the justice system to go forward with this proceeding. We are at the stage where we are at with Mr. Brooks muted in another courtroom because of his defiant actions, no one else,’ she added.
With his microphone muted at all times except when called on to speak or answer questions, Brooks could be seen wildly gesticulating in the other courtroom, arguing with court police, and holding up his objection sign to everything Judge Dorow said.
Darrell Brooks, 40, is accused of killing six people by ploughing an SUV through a Christmas parade in Wisconsin November last year
Darrell Brooks broke down in tears during his opening statement to the Jury in court today
Despite his outbursts, Opper insisted Brooks was competent to stand trial.
‘At no time as has anyone in this case had a competency concern,’ she said, ‘I’m thoroughly convinced he is 100 percent competent to proceed trial. We are 100 percent convinced that his conduct [is]… deliberate and intentional. He is attempting to derail these proceedings.’
Judge Dorow agreed with Opper’s assessment.
‘I share your observations,’ the judge said, adding she felt his behavior was merely an act of ‘defiance’ instead of a sign of poor mental health.
People gathered in Waukesha following the deadly incident last year which claimed the lives of six people and injured dozens of others
A stroller was left at the scene where more than 60 people were injured and six were left dead
Brooks was arrested near the scene of the attack on November 21 and has been in custody ever since.
Prosecutors have claimed Brooks rammed through the crowd after confronting a woman outside of a motel before the parade.
He later returned and punched that woman in the face and ran her over, as well, authorities have said.
Brooks was out on bail from a domestic abuse charge at the time of the attack, and has a lengthy rap sheet dating back to 1999 when he was first arrested for aggravated battery and carrying a concealed weapon.
Since then, he’s had at least 15 other run ins with the law.
Brooks has been charged with obstructing an officer multiple times, possession of a controlled substance, paternity warrants, failure to appear in court, and other charges.
One of his most aggressive charges came in 2010 when he was accused of strangulation and suffocation, as well as domestic battery.
Hundreds of people witnessed the attack, several recording cellphone videos showing him slowing down as he approached the parade before greatly accelerating in front of a group of marchers.
Prosecutors have said that Brooks struck people from at least eight different groups marching in the parade, over about five blocks — even striking some spectators.
At no time did he stop and try to check on anyone he plowed over, police have said.
Brooks pleaded not guilty in February.
In April, his attorneys, public defenders Anna Kees and Jeremy Perri, filed a motion seeking to push the proceedings back until at least March 2023.
They argued in the motion they need at least six months to study more than 300 videos of the parade, break down the SUV’s speed throughout the incident, review the police interrogation of Brooks and reach out to potential expert witnesses.
The six fatal victims of the Waukesha Christmas Parade killer
Darrell Brooks, 39, now faces 61 counts of recklessly endangering safety by use of a dangerous weapon for each person injured at the November 21 incident, along with the six homicide charges, according to court records filed on Wednesday.
He is accused of plowing through the crowd at the parade on November 21, killing six and injuring dozen others.
The fatal victims were Virginia Sorenson, 79, LeAnna Owen, 71, Tamara Durand, 52, Jane Kulich, 52, Wilhelm Hospel, 81, and Jackson Sparks, 8.
Four of the five people who were killed were members of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies.
Brooks’ motive remains unknown.
Jane Kulich, left, was a Citizen Bank employee who was walking with a parade float before she was fatally struck. The sixth victim of the tragedy was Jackson Sparks, 8
Tamara Durand (left), 52, and Leana ‘Lee’ Owen (right), 71, were two members of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies
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