WAUKESHA, Wis. – The driving force of an SUV who plowed by a Milwaukee space Christmas parade, killing six individuals and injuring dozens of others, was sentenced to life in jail Wednesday.
Darrell Brooks Jr. was discovered responsible late final month on dozens of prison fees after a jury discovered him accountable within the 2021 Christmas parade assault in Waukesha. The sentence, handed down by Waukesha County Circuit Decide Jennifer Dorow, got here sooner or later after victims and relations of the lifeless described the impacts of Brooks’ rampage. Greater than 40 victims and relations took to the stand or submitted written statements, nearly all instantly addressing Brooks angrily and bluntly.
Earlier than his sentence, Brooks provided a rambling, two-hour assertion, explaining he was sorry for what occurred and had repented to God.
“It isn’t simple being in probably the most hated man on this planet,” he instructed the court docket, including later, “I am a human being, not a monster.”
His sentence capped off a protracted authorized course of that was replete with dramatic disruptions and delays from Brooks, who determined simply days earlier than the proceedings began that he would signify himself. The disruptions, together with one which left the decide “scared,” induced Brooks to incessantly be booted from the courtroom and as a substitute seem nearly — one thing that occurred Wednesday throughout his sentencing.
Brooks, 40, of Milwaukee was convicted on Oct. 26 on all 76 prison fees he confronted within the parade assault trial: six counts of first-degree intentional murder, 61 counts of recklessly endangering security, six counts of hit-and-run inflicting loss of life, two counts of bail leaping and one misdemeanor rely of battery.
Dorow sentenced Brooks to 6 consecutive life sentences within the murder fees and a complete of 762 years on the endangerment counts.
‘I noticed pure unrepentant evil’: Waukesha parade assault victims share lasting ache at sentencing listening to
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Brooks says he ‘repented,’ requested God for forgiveness in Waukesha parade assault
Brooks spoke softly and slowly as he addressed the court docket earlier than his sentencing.
In a rambling almost two-hour assertion, his focus at first remained on victims’ feedback from Tuesday, together with issues “I’ve struggled with myself.”
Reaffirming his Christian beliefs, and infrequently quoting from the Bible, he stated he needed to make clear what he meant in closing statements when he stated his “conscience was clear.” He needed individuals to know he was repentant.
“I decided to rededicate myself to Christ when this tragedy occurred,” Brooks stated. “I’ve repented, that I’ve requested God for forgiveness.”
Brooks additionally stated he wasn’t attempting to “conceal” the individual he’s and from what occurred.
“I would like everybody to know, together with the group of Waukesha, not solely am I sorry for what occurred, however that you would not see what was really in my coronary heart …. and all of the tears that I dropped,” he stated.
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However, he added: “It isn’t me who can take any ache away, exchange what’s misplaced and produce again pleasure. I believe all that comes with perception in Christ, and all that comes with time. It is a course of that all of us must undergo.”
His frustration in not having the ability to defend himself induced him to behave out in court docket, Brooks stated, including that he has struggled all through his life with numerous points, together with bodily abuse “by the individuals which can be supposed to like you,” and “attempting to grasp why your thoughts works like the way in which it does.”
Flashes of his anger, seen usually in the course of the trial and in hearings instantly previous it, returned as he raised his voice to say the parade incident “was not, not, not and assault. … This was not an intentional act.”
Addressing prosecutors, significantly Waukesha County District Lawyer Sue Opper, Brooks stated he needed to take the “excessive street” whereas expressing his frustrations about a few of their statements. “It isn’t simple being in probably the most hated man on this planet,” he stated, including later, “I am a human being, not a monster.”
Extra:Decide in Wisconsin lethal parade trial says she was ‘scared’ by Darrell Brooks’ actions in court docket
Dorow twice requested Brooks after lengthy intervals if he wished to touch upon his sentencing following his conviction.
Pressed for a solution, Brooks stated he needed to be sentenced someplace he may very well be medicated to take away the “ache” he continues to battle with mentally, and “to not be put in a spot to simply be forgotten about.”
Brooks household says he suffers from psychological sickness, ought to be handled
Previous to sentencing, a number of family and pals, together with Brooks’ mom Daybreak Woods, spoke on his behalf.
Talking remotely through Zoom, Woods known as her son “damaged” however stated he wasn’t uncaring, regardless of his courtroom actions and the fees he confronted.
“Psychological sickness impacts everybody. It destroys lives and impacts household,” Woods stated. “It’s of no fault of their very own that they’re ailing, and started to alter as an individual.”
She acknowledged that individuals who act maliciously out of psychological sickness ought to be held accountable, however by remedy, remedy and particular establishments. Woods stated individuals want to point out empathy and compassion in that regard.
“I’ve been coping with psychological sickness for some 30-odd years now, and this is my tackle it,” Woods stated. “Jail shouldn’t be the reply.”
Mary Edwards, Brooks’ grandmother, stated she requested to talk for 2 causes: to apologize to these harm by Brooks’ actions within the parade, significantly the household of Jackson Sparks, and to apologize.
“Darrell has misplaced his thoughts and his life within the exterior world,” Edwards stated. She defined Brooks has suffered from bipolar dysfunction for a few years.
Michele Alworth, a buddy who remembered higher instances with Brooks, stated she suffers from medical issues and Brooks assisted her, together with in emergency conditions.
Alworth stated she hopes “he will get the assistance he wants for his psychological sickness” in a professional establishment.
Contact Jim Riccioli at email@example.com or observe him on Twitter at @jariccioli.