The man accused of ramming his SUV into a Christmas parade in Wisconsin earlier this month has been hit with a sixth count of intentional homicide following the death of 8-year-old Jackson Sparks.
Darrell Brooks was charged in Waukesha County Court with the felony.
Prosecutors told a presiding court officer last week that a boy had died and that they planned on filing an additional intentional homicide count.
Jackson’s family soon after identified the deceased and said his brother, 12-year-old Tucker Sparks, is still in intensive care at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.
Brooks was arrested the same day witnesses saw him refuse orders from law enforcement to stop his vehicle and plow into a parade in Waukesha.
Waukesha is about 19 miles west of Milwaukee, where Brooks resided.
Brooks’ bail was set at $5 million on Nov. 23 by Court Commissioner Kevin Costello at the level requested by prosecutors.
“There are no words to describe the risks that this defendant presents to the community,” Susan Opper, a prosecutor, told Costello, citing Brooks’ lengthy criminal history and the fact that he has repeatedly defied court orders in other cases.
Costello called the nature of the offense “shocking,” adding, “I know that this is extraordinary cash bail, but it’s warranted here.”
Wisconsin law only allows bail to be denied in certain cases, including for people accused of committing or attempting to commit a violent crime and who have already been convicted of the same.
The the new charge could lead to bail being denied entirely or a higher sum but the state has not yet requested a higher sum, Chris Van Wagner, a criminal defense lawyer and former prosecutor in Wisconsin, told The Epoch Times.
“It may be that the court commissioner, with the amended charge, simply keeps the bail where it is because he hasn’t had anyone post it. Or alternatively, it’s another financial sum for the added count. But since the bail was originally set at 5 million cash and we don’t have a 10 percent [deposit] or we don’t have bail bondsmen, that means he can only get out if he posts $5 million—that’s obviously not going to happen,” Van Wagner told The Epoch Times.
“So there may be no need to add additional bail,” he added.
Brooks is currently set to appear next in court on Jan. 14, 2022. The court will address the amended complaint, which includes the sixth charge, at that time, according to a court notice.
Brooks is being represented by two public defenders. Joseph Domask, representing him in two other cases, was successful in dropping his client this week, according to court records.
Domask in a motion reportedly cited ties to victims of the Waukesha attack and prosecutors did not oppose the motion.
Domask told The Epoch Times last week that he did not represent Brooks in the parade attack, adding that “our hearts are broken here for all families affected by the tragedy.”
Brooks was out on $1,000 bail after he allegedly rammed the same SUV into a girlfriend in Milwaukee in early November. That followed $500 bail in another, earlier case.
The court officials who granted the low bail amounts did not respond to requests for comment.
John Chisholm, Milwaukee County’s chief prosecutor, has said that his office should not have recommended the low bail amounts and he has launched an internal review.
A court document obtained by Fox News showed a pretrial risk assessment before the latter decision flagged Brooks’ release at the highest risk level, noting that he “is diagnosed with a serious and persistent illness in which he is not receiving treatment for.”
The investigator who prepared the report recommended a high bail level.
Chisolm said last week the bail amount was “inappropriately low” in light of the seriousness of the charges. He said it was not consistent with the risk assessment.
From The Epoch Times