A man who killed six people and injured many others when he drove his car through a Christmas parade has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of release.
An eight-year-old marching with his baseball team and three members of the Dancing Grannies group were among the dead – and more than 60 people were injured – when Darrell Brooks drove his Ford into the crowd near Milwaukee.
Waukesha County Circuit Judge Jennifer Dorow sentenced the 40-year-old on 76 charges, including six of first-degree intentional homicide and 61 of reckless endangerment.
Each homicide count carried a mandatory life sentence, and the only uncertainty was whether Judge Dorow would allow Brooks to serve any portion of those sentences on extended supervision in the community, the state’s current version of parole.
She did not. Wisconsin does not have the death penalty.
In addition to the six life sentences, Brooks was also sentenced on the other counts, including a total of more than 762 years for the reckless endangerment counts.
Brooks’ victims gave impact statements to the court, and almost all, begged the judge to deliver the toughest sentence possible.
Chris Owens, whose mother was among those killed, told Brooks: “All I ask is you rot, and you rot slow.”
Fight with ex-girlfriend
Brooks drove his red Ford Escape through the parade in downtown Waukesha on 21 November 2021, after getting into a fight with his ex-girlfriend.
He initially pleaded guilty by reason of mental disease, but withdrew that plea in September.
The following month, he dismissed his lawyers and began representing himself in court.
He claimed his car had a throttle malfunction, that he had no intention of hurting anyone, and had sounded the horn to warn bystanders.
However, a vehicle inspector testified the Ford Escape SUV was in good working order.