WAUKESHA, Wis. - Darrell Brooks, the man accused in the Waukesha Christmas Parade attack, was in court Thursday, Aug. 25 ahead of his October jury trial. The main focus of the hearing was determining what will and won't be allowed as evidence during Brooks' trial.
Waukesha County Judge Jennifer Dorow sided with the defense Thursday 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.
The six charges of first-degree intentional homicide remain.
Video of Darrell Brooks Jr. allegedly driving through Waukesha Christmas parade
Brooks now faces 77 counts, down from 83 originally filed.
Judge Dorow also denied 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 with conditions, including requirements that the trip be recorded and that there be no signs along the route (such as "Waukesha Strong" signs).
Brooks is charged in connection with the incident in Waukesha in November 2021.
Ahead of his October trial, a legal battle has brewed behind the scenes.
Court documents filed earlier this month show defense attorneys tried to get the case thrown out. Brooks' attorney argued his right to counsel was violated when "privileged communication was photocopied during the July 1 search of his jail cell."
The state countered, saying Brooks was heard on the jail telephone referencing files he received from another inmate – telling him he should get a "not guilty by reason of insanity please."
On Monday, Aug. 22, defense attorneys said an interrogation with Brooks on Nov. 22, 2021, was "obtained in violation of the Fifth Amendment and must be suppressed." This was when police met with Brooks for a second time, the day after the attack.
"The testimony admitted today clearly demonstrates a full 15 minutes or more passed from the point the officers entered the room to when Det. Carpenter actually read his Miranda rights," said Anna Kees, defense attorney.
"The defense says they should have walked into the room and immediately read him his rights," said Lesli Boese, deputy district attorney. "That is not the requirement under any case."
At least one victim was in the courtroom Thursday. Tyler Pudleiner was there with his mom. He was badly injured while marching with Waukesha South’s band.
Judge Dorow set aside 20 days in October for the trial. The state submitted 32 pages worth of witnesses – including dozens from the Waukesha Police Department and 10 witnesses from the State Crime Lab.
Waukesha parade attack victims identified
The state has also asked to take the jury to view the red Ford Escape in person. In a follow-up letter, Brooks' attorneys said "they don't object."
Memorial for parade attack victims at Waukesha's Veterans Park
If Brooks is found guilty of just one of the intentional homicide charges, he'll face a mandatory life sentence.