Suspect in Waukesha Parade Deaths Pulls More Court Stunts

Wisconsin man strips off shirt, sticks sign down his pants
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 7, 2022 1:29 AM CDT
Updated Oct 7, 2022 6:17 AM CDT
Bizarre Court Behavior Continues for Man Accused in Waukesha Parade Deaths
Darrell Brooks sits in another court room after being removed from the first day of his trial for continuously interrupting Waukesha County Circuit Judge Jennifer Dorow, on screen to the right, on the first day of trial his trial in Waukesha, Wis., on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022.   (Angela Peterson/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP, Pool)

A Wisconsin man defending himself against homicide charges for allegedly plowing his SUV through a Christmas parade stripped off his shirt, sat with his back to the camera and stuck a sign he'd been given to signal objections down his pants Thursday before opening statements began in his trial, the AP reports. Darrell Brooks has been acting as his own attorney since last week, when he demanded Judge Jennifer Dorow dismiss his public defenders. His trial began Monday with jury selection. Brooks repeatedly interrupted Dorow before prospective jurors were brought in, leading the judge to move him to another courtroom where he could watch via video and speak when she activated his microphone. Prosecutors allege Brooks, 40, killed six people and injured scores of others on Nov. 21 in the Milwaukee suburb of Waukesha.

Thursday was the first day of testimony in his trial on 76 charges, including six counts of first-degree intentional homicide. Brooks began the day by interrupting Dorow at least a dozen times before jurors were brought into the courtroom. The judge had bailiffs take Brooks to the alternate courtroom. Once there, he took off his jail uniform shirt and sat on the defense table with his back to the camera. He could be seen gesturing and jabbing the table with his finger. He was given a sign to hold up to the camera to signal objections, which he stuck down the front of his pants. He also claimed he needed medical help for a cut on his finger. Dorow said there was no blood and he would have to wait until the lunch break. After that break, he appeared to have a bandage on his right pinky.

Brooks at one point pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease, but withdrew that without explanation and pleaded not guilty. Psychological evaluations before the trial found him competent. District Attorney Susan Opper told Dorow that she believes Brooks' antics are aimed at delaying the trial. She said recordings of his calls from jail reveal that he discusses his case with multiple people every day. “These actions are deliberate and intentional and they have escalated,” Opper said. “He’s attempting to derail these proceedings and delay the inevitable.” Dorow agreed. “It’s very clear to this court that everything that he has done as outlined by the state and made evident on the record of these proceedings that it is the sole intent of Mr. Brooks to make a mockery of this process,” Dorow said. “I believe this trial needs to continue and should continue.”

(More Waukesha parade stories.)

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