A Wisconsin man was found guilty on Oct. 26 of murder and other charges for killing six people and injuring dozens of others when he drove his SUV into a Christmas parade near Milwaukee last year.
A 12-person jury in Waukesha County convicted Darrell Brooks, 40, of six counts of intentional homicide. He faces life in prison when sentenced.
Brooks rested his head in his hands as Waukesha County Circuit Judge Jennifer Dorow read the verdict.
Tim Michels, a Republican challenging Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, was among those celebrating the verdict. Prosecutors “did fantastic jobs,” he said, adding: “My heart again goes out to the victims and their families. Their pain isn’t erased, but this was a just verdict.”
Evers hasn’t yet responded.
Brooks was accused of deliberately driving his sport utility vehicle through police barricades and into the crowds participating in the annual parade in the city of Waukesha, about 15 miles west of downtown Milwaukee on Nov. 21, 2021.
Brooks represented himself during the three-week trial, repeatedly getting admonished by Dorow for failing to follow court rules, including when he used file boxes to obstruct himself from view.
During his closing argument, Brooks told the jury that he had no intention of hurting anyone. He said he sounded the vehicle’s horn as he drove through the crowd, attempting to warn people to get out of the way.
Prosecutors said Brooks was guilty.
“When you ride through a parade route and roll over children … your intent is known, Mr. Brooks,” Waukesha County District Attorney Sue Opper said during closing arguments. “That’s not an accident.”
Brooks killed Jackson Sparks, 8; Tamara Durand, 52; Jane Kulich, 52; LeAnna Owen, 71; Virginia Sorenson, 79; and Wilhelm Hospel, 81.
More than 60 other people were injured, including at least 18 children.
Brooks, a Milwaukee resident, was out on bail from a domestic abuse charge at the time of the attack. He was arrested near the scene and has been in custody ever since.
In his opening argument, Brooks said that he did not have a “well-prepared speech” but that jurors should remember that “there’s always two sides to every story.”
“I pray that your eyes and ears remain as open as possible. And understand that you alone decide this case, this matter. The power is in your hands. All of you. To determine for yourselves what truth is. Thank you,” he said.
Witnesses throughout the trial described what they saw.
Abel Lazcano, one of the witnesses, said that he watched a red SUV “plow over a bunch of people.”
“Did you see who was driving?” Brooks asked.
“Yes. You’re standing right there,” Lazcano said.
Reuters contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times