Six life sentences handed to Darrell Brooks for the fatal Christmas parade attack
This past Wednesday, a judge in Waukesha County, Wisconsin, handed Darrell Brooks a sentence of six consecutive life terms for his role in a November incident in which he intentionally drove his SUV into a Christmas parade, killing six people and injuring 61 others.
After being found guilty last month of six counts of intentional first-degree murder, Brooks’ sentencing was disrupted twice by his removal from the courtroom. By Tuesday evening, the court had heard from or read written statements from more than three dozen victims or family members.
The six life sentences, to be served consecutively, were handed down by Judge Jennifer Dorow of the Waukesha County Circuit Court on Wednesday.
During his two-hour opening statement, Dorow said, “This trial is unlike anything that I’ve ever been a part of. The sheer magnitude of the crime, the number of people impacted. The vicious, senseless nature of it.”
The judge also said that Brooks’ “feeble attempt to blame mental health” was unsatisfactory.
Dorow continued, “Not for my benefit, but for the victims, I waited for a true apology. I didn’t get it.”
There are a total of 60 counts of reckless endangerment against Brooks, age 40, and for each one he received a 17.5-year prison sentence, plus 305 years of extended supervision on top of six life sentences. Dorow said that the sentence was “largely symbolic.”
It must “hold you accountable in a very real and tangible way,” the judge told Brooks.
A federal jury deliberated for only a few hours before finding Brooks guilty on all 76 charges against him last month. The charges included 61 counts of reckless endangerment, six counts of first-degree intentional homicide, six counts of hit-and-run causing death, two counts of federal bail jumping, and one count of battery.
When on trial, Brooks chose to represent himself.
Brooks told Dorow, “I am sorry not only for what happened, but also that you could not see what is truly in my heart.”
“With respect to how I’m viewed, I will not respond to those comments in anger either. I want to also say that, it is not me that can take any pain away, replace what was lost, give back joy, happiness — so many other things lost that day.”
Sherry Sparks asked the court, before Brooks had a chance to speak, “Do you have any idea of gut wrenching it is to have to explain your 12-year-old son that his little brother isn’t going to make it, his injuries are too extensive for his little body to come back from and that he won’t be coming home with us over again?”
Sparks lost her son Jackson, and her other son, Tucker, was seriously hurt.
“This morning, I should have spent the morning making breakfast, taking him to school, hearing about his day later and said I’m standing here in this courtroom asking for justice for my boys. We came so close to losing both of them that day. I miss Jackson every second of every single day. I feel gutted and broken, it hurts to breathe sometimes. It hurts to live without him here.”