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A jury has reached a verdict in the case of Darrell Brooks, who was accused of driving his SUV into a crowd of people in Waukesha, Wisconsin, last year.
He was convicted of six counts of first degree intentional homicide on Wednesday.
It came after he gave a tearful closing argument on Tuesday, insisting that he did not intentionally murder anyone.
“What if the vehicle couldn’t stop because of malfunction? What if the driver of the vehicle was unable to stop the vehicle? Because of that fact, what if the driver may have panicked? Does that make the driver in a rage and intent on killing people?” he said.
“I’ve never heard of someone trying to intentionally hurt someone while attempting to blow their horn while attempting to alert people of their presence,” he said.
Waukesha County District Attorney Susan Opper rebutted Brooks’ claims, saying he wants jurors to care about his family when other families in this tragedy will never be able to see their loved ones again.
“There are 68 victims in this case, folks. That’s not an accident,” Opper said.
Despite Brooks’ claims of him not intentionally striking people with an SUV, Opper repeatedly told the jury there is overwhelming evidence showing Brooks was fully aware of his actions when he drove his SUV through a crowd of hundreds of people.
“He reached speeds of approximately 30 mph. That’s intentional. He plowed through 68 different people, 68. How can you hit one and keep going? How can you hit two and keep going?” Opper asked.
Opper also told jurors not to be distracted in their deliberations by the conduct of Brooks during the trial.
“You must not, not, not consider anything about Darrell Brooks other than his conduct in downtown Waukesha on the evening of November 21, 2021,” Opper told the jury. “Nothing he’s done before that, nothing he’s done since that. When you go back to that deliberation room, please obey Judge Dorow. Confine your comments to his conduct on November 21.”
In September the udge in the case of Darrell Brooks, the man who ran into a crowd at a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin last year, went off the rails as the judge walked off the bench.
It happened as Brooks was arguing to be his own defense in the case against him, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Dorow was supposed to decide on Tuesday if he could represent himself but, after a testy back and forth with the defendant, she left the courtroom.
“At this point, sir, I cannot grant the request because I cannot make a finding that you understand what’s going on,” the judge said.
“You can roll your eyes all you want,” she said. “So, I’m done. If need be, we can come back tomorrow.”
Dorow instructed him to confer with his attorneys, Jeremy Perri and Anna Kees, who remained on the case for now, about what would be required of him to proceed with his request to represent himself. For that hearing to take place, Brooks must file a waiver of attorney form by 9 a.m., one of the many stumbling blocks in Tuesday’s proceedings.
Brooks, 40, of Milwaukee is accused of 77 criminal counts, including six of first-degree intentional homicide and 61 of recklessly endangering safety, tied to the Waukesha Christmas Parade tragedy in November 2021. His defense attorneys’ motion to withdraw from the case, filed Sept. 22, indicated his intention to represent himself.
His trial is scheduled to start on October 3 and last until October 28.
“As recently as two weeks ago, it appeared the trial would not require the full four weeks. But experts say that if Brooks is allowed to represent himself, it could slow down the process,” the report said.
During the hearing, Brooks attempted to talk over the judge.
“Nope. I’m talking, sir,” she said. “Listen Mr. Brooks. We are not; we are done here today.”
”I cannot make a finding at the point that you have an understanding of what you’re charged with, the nature of these proceedings,” the judge said.
“I am not going to get into a debate about whether you’re a sovereign citizen or not, or even whether you have any understanding of how the state is a plaintiff in this case.
“My sole reason for being here today is your motion through your attorneys to consider your request to represent yourself. You have demonstrated through this hearing that you don’t have a basic understanding of some of the things that are going on,” the judge said.
In November an Illinois Democrat has resigned from her post as social media director for a county-level party after claiming that the horrific and deadly incident in Waukesha, Wis., which Brooks plowed into a Christmas parade with an SUV “karma” for the verdict of not guilty in the Kyle Rittenhouse case the previous day.
“The blood of Kyle Rittenhouse’s victims is on the hands of Wisconsin citizens, even the children,” wrote Mary Lemanski, then-social media chief for the Democratic Pary in Dupage County, tweeted.
Lemanski, whose Twitter profile says she is an acting student with the Second City Comedy Group, meanwhile mockingly referred to the SUV driver as fearing for his life and simply offering “help.” The remarks echoed Rittenhouse’s explanation that he shot and killed Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum in August 2020 in self-defense, claiming he was present during a protest-turned-riot to offer people help.
Lemanski later deleted her tweets as they began to spread online, and shared a statement saying she had resigned from the social media role after making “some remarks that were not in good taste regarding the Waukesha tragedy”. She also claimed she would sue Fox News for harassment, as the outlet was the first to highlight the tweets.