Waukesha parade killer Darrell Brooks was sentenced to six life sentences after he was found guilty on that same number of counts of intentional homicide.
He was removed from the courtroom on at least two separate occasions as he waited to see his sentence for killing six people, while the judge broke down in tears after reading the stories of his victim.
The judge symbolically added at least another 1,067 years to the life sentences to underscore the severity of the crimes for which she said Brooks showed ‘no remorse, no empathy.’
Brooks, 40, received the sentencing after a circuit court jury in Waukesha, Wisconsin, found him guilty on Oct. 26 of 76 criminal charges, including the six counts of intentional homicide.
Judge Jennifer Dorow, who has clashed with the self-representing Brooks throughout the trial, broke down in tears after recalling having watched scenes of what happened.
Dorow read the names of the victims and signified that she was giving Brooks ‘one life sentence for’ each of them.
It came after Brooks said ahead of sentencing Wednesday that he has suffered from mental illness since he was young and didn’t plan to drive into the parade route. He also offered his first apology to the dozens of people who were hurt or lost loved ones during the incident.
She said: ‘It’s hard not to think about what I watched and not have this reaction.’
Brooks and Dorow butted heads again, with Dorow again having to adjourn to remove him from the court after Brooks interrupted her, accused the judge of lying and saying he didn’t consent to the entire process.
He was eventually let back into the sentencing only to be removed one more time, with Dorow explaining that she wanted to give him his Constitutional right to be present at sentencing.
Waukesha parade killer Darrell Brooks was removed from the courtroom again as he waits to see if he’ll be given a life sentence for killing six people, while the judge broke down in tears after reading the stories of his victim
Brooks, 40, faces life in prison after a circuit court jury in Waukesha, Wisconsin, found him guilty on Oct. 26 of 76 criminal charges, including six counts of intentional homicide
Judge Jennifer Dorow, who has clashed with the self-representing Brooks throughout the trial, broke down in tears after recalling having watched scenes of what happened
Brooks told Dorow in remarks that rambled past two hours that he grew up fatherless, poor and hungry in apartment buildings infested with rats and bugs.
He said he has dealt with mental health issues for as long as he can remember and that he was physically abused, though he didn’t say by whom. At times he took medication and did short stints in mental health facilities and life was better then, he said.
‘People are going to, like I said, believe what they want, and that’s OK. This needs to be said: What happened on Nov. 21, 2021, was not, not, not an attack. It was not planned, plotted,’ Brooks said, adding later: ‘This was not an intentional act. No matter how many times you say it over and over, it was not.’
Brooks also offered his first apology to the victims and their families.
‘I want you to know that not only am I sorry for what happened, I’m sorry that you could not see what’s truly in my heart,’ he said. ‘That you cannot see the remorse that I have.’
Though Brooks elected to represent himself in his trial, his repeated interruptions, outbursts, and erratic behavior have led to him being removed from the courtroom and led to Judge Jennifer Dorow admitting she’s frightened of him.
In his closing remarks, Brooks said ‘my conscience is clear’ and has ‘made peace with God’ – even shockingly saying it ‘was God’s will’ that it happened – before the jury was sequestered at 6:24 p.m. local time, while appearing to cry.
The judge allowed him to give his closing arguments to the jury in person last week.
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.
Darrell Brooks poses for a booking photograph provided by the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Office after being taken into custody for driving into a parade with his car
Once in another courtroom, Darrell 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
Brooks has been in custody ever since and had pleaded not guilty to the charges, announcing in court that his ‘conscience is clear’ and suggested the deaths were ‘God’s will’ even as he wiped away a tear.
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 has taken his shirt off in a courtroom, and also prepared a laminated paper that said ‘objection’ on it that he revealed after the judge cut his mic off.
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.’
The six fatal victims of the Waukesha Christmas Parade killer
Darrell Brooks faces life in prison after a circuit court jury in Waukesha, Wisconsin, found him guilty on Oct. 26 of 76 criminal charges, including six counts of intentional homicide.
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 six 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