Darrell Brooks Jr., who drove his vehicle through a crowd in Waukesha, Wisconsin, last year, killing six and injuring dozens more, has been sentenced to multiple life sentences.
The 41-year-old defendant was convicted last month on all 76 criminal counts against him — including the six first-degree homicide charges that netted the life sentences announced this week.
After a jury found him guilty, Circuit Judge Jennifer Dorow asserted that Brooks “used that vehicle as a battering ram” during the Nov. 21 Christmas parade, adding that he ran over victims “as if they were nothing more than speed bumps.”
His behavior during the trial sparked their own controversies as he represented himself without a defense attorney.
At one point, Brooks engaged in a nearly hour-long tirade during which he mounted a convoluted bid to have the charges against him dismissed.
“Every document that was filed in this matter stated that the state of Wisconsin was the plaintiff, which would lead me to believe that the state of Wisconsin is who is bringing the claim against my client,” he said. “How could they not be subpoenaed to testify if they are the plaintiff? And under the Sixth Amendment, I have the right to face my accuser. My accuser in this matter is the plaintiff, which is the state of Wisconsin.”
Days later, Dorow called for a break in the proceedings after Brooks glared menacingly at her.
“This man right now is having a stare-down with me,” the judge said. “It’s very disrespectful. He pounded his fist. Frankly, it makes me scared.”
Brooks addressed his outbursts during trial in a subsequent apology, asserting: “There was a part of me that felt that I haven’t been able to defend myself. I think it was just the pot boiling over. I was wrong for not being able to control myself the times that I wasn’t me.”
Surviving victims and relatives of the six individuals who died in the attack were on hand to testify during Brooks’ sentencing hearing.
#DarrellBrooks, who faces life without parole, quibbled about the one year he has served in jail after Judge Jennifer Dorow interrupted his endless rant to ask what his sentence should be. pic.twitter.com/WaoAVY4cXH
— Law&Crime Network (@LawCrimeNetwork) November 16, 2022
Sheri Sparks, whose 8-year-old son Jackson was the youngest victim killed in the parade, shared her family’s grief in an impact statement read in court.
“Do you have any idea how gut-wrenching it is to explain to your 12-year-old son that his little brother isn’t going to make it?” she asked.
Her older son Tucker was also hit by Brooks’ SUV as the boys marched along with the rest of their baseball team.