WAUKESHA, Wis. (WLS) -- The murder trial of Darrell Brooks for last year's Waukesha Christmas Parade attack got off to a rocky, sometimes bizarre start Thursday.
She removed him and allowed him back into the courtroom after a lunch break with the jury present, but ordered him out again when he continued to be disruptive.
Prosecutors believe his disruptions are deliberate and intentional.
This was the fourth day in a row Brooks was removed from the courtroom.
At one point Thursday he was shirtless; at another, an objection card was shoved in his orange prison uniform pants. The 40-year-old spent most of the day in a separate courtroom after Judge Jennifer Dorow ordered him removed after he repeatedly interrupted her.
He remained in that separate courtroom, muted, while prosecutors laid out their opening statements.
Brooks is charged with intentionally driving his SUV attending a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wis., last November. Six people were killed and dozens more were injured. Brooks is facing more than 76 charges.
"He hit the gas with his red Ford Escape and used it as a battering ram over and over, striking men women and kids," said Waukesha County Assistant District Attorney Zachary Witchow.
Two weeks before the parade attack, Brooks was released from jail on bond after he was charged with running over the alleged mother of his child.
Throughout the legal proceedings, his mental competency has been an issue. His public defenders withdrew from the case, but Waukesha County District Attorney Sue Opper made it clear Thursday she believe he is fit to stand trial.
"I'm thoroughly convinced Mr. Brooks is 100% competent to proceed to trial that is his mental capacity is not reduced in any fashion," she said.
Brooks decided to defer giving his opening statements until a later time. Testimony from the state's first witnesses began late this afternoon. Jurors are expected to hear from a series of people who attended the parade.
On Wednesday, Brooks asked the judge to adjourn the proceedings, saying he's come down with COVID symptoms. The judge denied the request.
Last week the judge decided to allow Brooks to represent himself at trial, finding that he suffers from a personality disorder and faces an uphill fight against an experienced prosecutorial team but is mentally competent.