A jury in Wisconsin Wednesday convicted a man of deliberately driving his sport utility vehicle through a Christmas parade in a Milwaukee suburb, killing six people and injuring more than 60 last November.
The Waukesha County jury found 40-year-old Darrell Brooks — who defended himself — guilty on six counts of intentional homicide, each of which carries a mandatory life sentence, as well as more than 60 other charges.
The conviction marks the end of nearly-year-long legal process that saw Brooks change his plea from not guilty by reason of insanity, dismiss his court-appointed legal team days before the trial began, and receive several rebukes from Waukesha County Circuit Judge Jennifer Dorow for failing to follow court rules.
Brooks was arrested November 21, 2021, after he drove his Ford Escape through the Waukesha Christmas parade. Video from the scene shows the vehicle striking a marching band and other participants from behind, without slowing down. During the trial, prosecutors say he reached speeds up to 48 kilometers per hour.
Victims of the incident ranged in age from eight to 81. More than 60 people were injured, including at least 18 children.
Prosecutors say Brooks was fleeing the scene of a domestic incident involving his ex-girlfriend when he drove through the parade. They also say he had just been released on bail following a domestic abuse charge two days before the incident.
Waukesha, a community of 70,000 people outside Milwaukee in southeastern Wisconsin, was deeply scarred by the incident. The Milwaukee Journal newspaper reports a group of people gathered outside the courtroom wearing shirts bearing the phrase “Waukesha Strong” as the verdict was read.
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.