Darrell Brooks trial: Criminal history dates back to 1999

Darrell Brooks, 40, on trial starting Monday, Oct. 3 for the November 2021 Waukesha Christmas parade attack that killed six and injured more than 60, has a felony record that dates back to 1999 when he slashed another man's face with a knife. 

Brooks has been in and out of criminal court for more than two decades, serving time in prison and racking up convictions for domestic violence, child sex crimes, firearms, drugs and battery.

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In 2011, police say Brooks tried to flee from a traffic stop and the officer feared Brooks was "trying to run him over." 

Darrell Brooks

Brooks' record of convictions

CASE: Filed September 1999, Milwaukee County
CHARGES: Substantial battery/intentionally causing bodily harm, as party to a crime
RESOLUTION: Guilty/no contest in December 1999
SENTENCE: Two years in prison – which was stayed, three years' probation, six months in the House of Correction 

CASE: Filed February 2002, Milwaukee County
CHARGES: Possession of THC, second-plus offense
RESOLUTION: Guilty/no contest in May 2002
SENTENCE: 50 days in the House of Correction with work release, license suspended for six months 

CASE: Filed January 2003, Milwaukee County
CHARGES: Resisting/obstructing an officer
RESOLUTION: Guilty/no contest in February 2003
SENTENCE: 20 days in the House of Correction 

CASE: Filed February 2010, Wood County
CHARGES: Strangulation/suffocation (with previous conviction), battery, criminal damage to property
RESOLUTION: Guilty to strangulation charge in April 2010
SENTENCE: Three years' probation – which was stayed, 90 days' jail time with work release

CASE: Filed March 2011, Milwaukee County
CHARGES: Resisting or obstructing an officer
RESOLUTION: Guilty in May 2012
SENTENCE: 37 days in the House of Correction with work release

CASE: Filed November 2011, Milwaukee County
CHARGES: Possession of THC, second-plus offense
RESOLUTION: Guilty in March 2012
SENTENCE: 180 days in the House of Correction with work release

CASE: Filed December 2011, Milwaukee County
CHARGES: Possession of THC, misdemeanor bail jumping
RESOLUTION: Guilty in March 2012
SENTENCE: 180 days in the House of Correction with work release

Brooks' open Milwaukee County cases

That brings us to summer 2020. 

In July 2020, Brooks was charged with a series of felonies after prosecutors say he fired a gun at his nephew outside a house on N. 19th Street in Milwaukee. After that shooting, Brooks was ordered to have no contact with a number of people, including his mother, Dawn Woods, but when he was arrested again just a couple of weeks ago on new crimes, it was his mother who bailed him out.

In early November 2021, Brooks was charged with two felonies and three misdemeanors, including second-degree recklessly endangering safety (domestic abuse assessments) after prosecutors say he ran over his girlfriend in a Milwaukee gas station parking lot. The incident left the mother of his child with a bloody face and tire tracks on her leg. According to prosecutors, he later tried to persuade the woman to not cooperate with investigators in exchange for marriage.


In that 2020 shooting case, cash bond was set at $10,000 in July 2020, online court records show, but "adjusted down" to $7,500 in August 2020. In February 2021, nine months before the Christmas parade attack, it was "adjusted down" again to $500. That $500 cash bond was posted in May 2021.

Cash bond was set at $1,000 in that domestic violence case on Nov. 5, 2021.

Brooks’ mother posted the $1,000 bail in the domestic violence case on Nov. 11, 2021, but Brooks was not released from the custody of the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office until at least Nov. 16, 2021. That’s when he appeared before a Waukesha County judge, by phone, in the custody of the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department for failure to pay in a child support case. A judge released Brooks on his own recognizance in that case – just days before the parade attack, which led to outrage and renewed calls for bail reform.

The "low bail" and the fact that Brooks was free after posting it before he allegedly killed six people and injured dozens of others in Waukesha led to outrage and renewed calls for bail reform.

At the time of the Christmas parade attack, Brooks also had an active warrant out of Nevada for skipping court on sex crime charges.

Christmas parade attack

Prosecutors say on Nov. 21, 2021, Brooks met up with his ex-girlfriend in Frame Park, the same woman he is accused of running over with his red SUV earlier in November 2021. She told police they argued in his SUV before he started driving, and he "was driving around with one hand and striking her in the face with his other hand." She eventually got out and called her friends for help. 


Waukesha parade attack victims identified

Soon after that, according to prosecutors, Brooks drove that red SUV through the parade route, killing Jackson Sparks, 8, Virginia Sorenson, 79, LeAnna Owen, 71, Tamara Durand, 52, Jane Kulich, 52 and Wilhelm Hospel, 81. More than 60 others were hurt. 

Brooks was arrested the night of the attack, soon after telling a Waukesha resident that he was homeless and waiting for an Uber. The man was unaware of the events that had occurred and let Brooks into his home.

Brooks entered an insanity plea in June after initially pleading not guilty to the charges in February. He later dropped the insanity plea on Sept. 9. 

Darrell Brooks is defending himself in the trial after Judge Jennifer Dorow ruled he's competent to do so on Wednesday, Sept. 28. This, after Brooks' attorneys filed a motion to withdraw, telling the court Brooks desired to represent himself. Two afternoons worth of hearings were held on that motion, during which Dorow questioned Brooks as to whether he understands the charges filed against him in this case and the penalties associated with them.  

During those hearings, Dorow said she reviewed evaluations four psychologists conducted of Brooks and agreed with their findings that while he has a personality disorder and is disruptive, he is intelligent and articulate enough to defend himself.