WAUKESHA, Wis. - 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, had seven of the charges filed against him dismissed.
In late August, Waukesha County Judge Jennifer Dorow sided with the defense and struck Counts 78-83 (six counts of homicide by vehicle, use of a controlled substance). The judge ruled there cannot be multiple punishments for the same crime.
On Sept. 30, Count 77, misdemeanor battery/domestic abuse, was dismissed by prosecutors.
Brooks now faces 76 counts, down from the 83 originally filed. The six counts of first-degree intentional homicide remain for the six victims killed. The other charges are first-degree recklessly endangering safety, use of a dangerous weapon; hit-and-run involving death; felony bail jumping and one count of battery (domestic abuse).
During the Aug. 25 hearing dismissing six counts, Judge Dorow also denied the state’s motion to allow testimony from a previous case where Brooks allegedly ran over his ex-girlfriend. She said because the parade was a mass casualty incident, and the other crime targeted a single person, the two incidents can't be compared.
The judge also granted the state’s request to let the jury travel by bus along the parade route during the trial with conditions, including requirements that the trip be recorded and that there be no signs along the route (such as "Waukesha Strong" signs).
The next day, on Day 2 of the motion hearing, Dorow refused a defense motion to have the case against Brooks dismissed because of a July search of the defendant’s jail cell. Investigators and prosecutors were looking for information related to Brooks’ recent decision to change his plea.
His attorneys said the warrant for the search was deficient and that the action violated Brooks’ attorney-client privilege.
In denying the motion, Dorow said the paperwork seized, photocopied and return to the jail cell was not privileged material.
Dorow also rejected a motion to suppress some statements Brooks made to investigators after defense attorneys argued that he continued to be questioned after stating he wished to invoke his right to remain silent.
Waukesha parade attack
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.
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.
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.
Just one homicide conviction would put him behind bars for life.
We'll be hearing a lot more from Brooks during the trial after Judge Dorow ruled Brooks can represent himself.