It's hard to forget the gruesome events that transpired in 2021 during the Waukesha, Wis., Christmas Parade. Now, the suspected attacker, Darrell Brooks, is standing trial for his alleged crimes, and things are already pretty heavily stacked against him.
With that being said, what was Brooks charged with? Let's unpack what we know about the court case so far.
What was Darrell Brooks charged with?
The 40-year-old suspect is accused of driving a red Ford Escape through the crowd of the Waukesha Christmas Parade on Nov. 23, 2021. This killed six individuals and injured several dozen others.
In total, Brooks is currently charged with a whopping 76 criminal offenses.
Per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Brooks's current charges are as follows: "six counts of first-degree intentional homicide, 61 counts of recklessly endangering safety, six counts of hit-and-run causing death and two counts of bail jumping, all felonies in connection to the Waukesha Christmas Parade tragedy, and one count of misdemeanor battery."
The outlet notes that if he is convicted of any of the six first-degree intentional homicide counts, he faces a mandatory life sentence.
Interestingly enough, Brooks has opted to represent himself during his trial.
What is going on now with Darrell Brooks's trial?
On Oct. 25, 2022, Judge Jennifer R. Dorow read a set of finalized jury instructions that took most of the afternoon to get through. This came in the form of a 107-page document outlining juror conduct in reaching a verdict and reminding them that they must consider each of the 76 charges individually. Throughout this time, Brooks repeatedly interrupted and mentioned his first amendment rights multiple times.
Due to his repeated interruptions, Judge Dorow decided to send Brooks to adjacent courtrooms multiple times, which delayed the trial even further.
When Brooks returned, Judge Dorow accused him of throwing away the 107-page jury document. Later on, she granted him a separate hearing which was a result of his concerns regarding immediate sentencing, pending his conviction.
When Brooks delivered his closing arguments in the case, he said he was speaking "from the heart."
"For a year, I have sat while going through this," he said. "I understand about healing myself, tragedy and pain."
He seemed to have recognized that he was the one piloting the vehicle through the parade that day, but maintained that he didn't intend to inflict harm and was honking his horn at parade-goers.
Waukesha County District Attorney Sue Opper disagreed, saying "When you ride through a parade route and roll over children, ... your intent is known, Mr. Brooks. You don't have to stand and wonder, as he claims to. ... There are 68 victims in this case. That's not an accident."
The jury is still actively deliberating the case, but a verdict is expected to be reached soon.