Darrel Brooks trial


Brooks objecting from another courtroom, Photo Courtesy of The Chicago Tribune

Walt Brunson, Head Editor

   Bringing an end to Darrel Brooks’ legal proceedings, Judge Jennifer Dorow sentenced Brooks on 70 counts for the Waukesha Christmas parade killings on Nov. 17. Brooks already faced six life sentences for intentional first degree murder after the conclusion of his jury trial, and now, Dorow’s sentencing has only gone to further ensure that Brooks will spend the remainder of his life in prison.

  Brooks was convicted on all 76 counts, six of which were first degree murder. In Wisconsin, first degree intentional murder holds a mandatory life sentence. Judge Dorow’s sentencing added more than 750 additional years to his sentence. 

   In November of 2021, Brooks drove his SUV through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, killing six and injuring dozens more. In his trial, Brooks opted to represent himself with no additional legal counsel, making for an uncommonly wild and difficult trial. 

   Brooks is not a licensed lawyer, nor did he practice law prior to the trial. Brooks’ shenanigans were met with a patient Judge Dorow, but a number of outlandish acts bordered on contempt of court, making the courtroom resembled a preschool classroom at many points in the trial.  

   Utter disregard for Judge Dorow’s authority and childish acts of defiance were present from Brooks throughout the entire trial. Brooks’ actions included building a barrier of documents to hide himself from the jury and even halfway undressing in his prison jumpsuit. Over the course of the trial Brooks was removed from the courtroom multiple times to be present through a computer in an adjacent courtroom because of his interruptions and refusals to comply with Judge Dorow’s rulings.

   Brooks’ disregard for both legal procedure and authority rendered his largely incoherent case even weaker. Brooks failed to produce many arguments, relying mostly on emotions and calling upon the jury’s good will and forgiveness. At the end of the trial, Brooks offered a closing statement that improperly brought in new evidence, followed by a plea to the jury holding up his copy of the Bible.

   The jury was not swayed by any arguments presented by Brooks, and quickly reached their verdict, although Brooks insisted on polling each individual jury member to confirm their decision. Judge Dorow’s additional sentences were delivered Nov. 14 and 15 after statements from impacted victims were heard.

   “You have absolutely no remorse for anything that you do. You have no empathy for anyone,” Dorow explained during the sentencing. “Frankly, Mr. Brooks, no one is safe from you.”