Darrell Brooks Gets Life With No Chance of Release

He drove his SUV into a Christmas parade last year, killing 6
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 16, 2022 6:50 PM CST
Darrell Brooks Gets Life With No Chance of Release
Dylan Yourell, whose children were injured in the parade, gives a victim statement during Darrell Brooks' sentencing in Waukesha County Circuit Court, on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022.   (Mike De Sisti/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP, Pool)

Darrell Brooks Jr. was sentenced to life in prison with no possibily of release Wednesday, just under a year after he drove his SUV into a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, killing six people and injuring dozens more. Waukesha County Circuit Judge Jennifer Dorow sentenced the 40-year-old on 76 charges, including six counts of first-degree intentional homicide and 61 counts of reckless endangerment, the AP reports. Each homicide count carried a mandatory life sentence, and the only uncertainty Wednesday was whether 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 doesn't have the death penalty.

On Tuesday, as Brooks’ victims gave impact statements to the court, almost all of them 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." Brooks drove his red Ford Escape through the parade in downtown Waukesha on Nov. 21 last year after getting into a fight with his ex-girlfriend. The six people killed including an 8-year-old boy who was marching with his baseball team, as well as three members of a group known as the Dancing Grannies. On Wednesday, before the judge handed down her sentence, Brooks told the court that he suffered from mental illness since he was young and didn’t plan to drive into the parade route.

In remarks that rambled past two hours, he also offered his first apology to the dozens of people who were hurt or lost loved ones during the incident—but he didn’t explain his motive or offer any other insights into what he was thinking as he turned the SUV into the parade. Brooks’ mother and grandmother tried to persuade Dorow to place Brooks in a mental institution rather than prison. Dorow spent most of Tuesday listening to dozens of victims. One by one they described frantically searching for their children in the immediate aftermath, the pain their children have endured as they still struggle to recover from their injuries, and the emptiness they feel as they cope with the loss of their dead loved ones. (Last month, a jury took 3 hours,15 minutes to find Brooks guilty on all counts.)

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