Darrell Brooks faces life in prison for murdering six and wounding scores when he drove his SUV into a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, last November. Victims confronted him for the first time at a sentencing trial Tuesday morning.
Jeff Rogers, whose children were injured in the attack, asked for a maximum punishment for Brooks, who was convicted last month on 76 crimes, including first-degree murder, reckless endangerment, lethal hit-and-run, jumping bail, misdemeanour violence and domestic abuse.
Lori Lochen, one of the 62 injured, said Brooks, “It surprises me that you reject your responsibilities for the devastation and pain you wilfully inflicted.” Bill Mitchell, who suffered fractured ribs in the attack, claimed Brooks’ main regrets were being caught and the impact on his own life.
Brooks prayed and chuckled during the proceedings.
Judge Jennifer Dorow said Brooks, 40, will be sentenced Wednesday and faces life in prison.
Legal experts predict Dorow to stack Brooks’ six life sentences, giving him no possibility of release, according to the Associated Press.
Jessica Gonzalez, whose two children attended the procession, claimed she yelled “hysterically, seeking desperately” for her son. “I saw his small body in his jersey, his eyes staring up, nowhere. She stated, “I realised he was gravely damaged. What’s it like to attend a child’s funeral?” My kids know.
Brooks, who pleaded not guilty and represented himself, proclaimed himself a “sovereign citizen” to dodge federal law by contending he falls beyond U.S. court jurisdiction. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the so-called sovereign citizen movement is built in a bogus conspiracy idea that the Constitution was covertly substituted with admiralty law and that judges and attorneys are foreign agents. SPLC calls it “pseudo-legal gibberish.” SPLC research analyst Freddy Cruz told Boston NPR station WBUR that defendants who claim the conspiracy theory oppose the authority of the federal government, its licences, and taxes.
Brooks wounded 62 people and killed six, including an 8-year-old, when he crashed into the Waukesha Christmas parade in November. Police said he drove 40 mph into the crowd after assaulting his girlfriend and fleeing her residence. At least one officer shot at the SUV as it neared the procession to slow it down. Brooks was arrested as the sole suspect in the horrific incident. Brooks pled not guilty by grounds of insanity in February but withdrew it in September.