Darrell Brooks found guilty of homicide, more in Waukesha parade attack

Darrell Brooks was found guilty of killing 6, injuring dozens more when he allegedly drove into Waukesha Christmas parade

ByKaren Jordan, Rob Elgas, and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Thursday, October 27, 2022
Darrell Brooks found guilty in Waukesha parade attack
EMBED <>More Videos

Darreell Brooks was found guilty of six countd sof intentional homicide and 70 other counts in the Waukesha parade attack last year.

WAUKESHA, Wis. (WLS) -- Waukesha parade trial suspect Darrell Brooks was found guilty of intentional homicide by a jury Wednesday morning.

Brooks was found guilty on six counts of first degree intentional homicide, as well as 70 other counts.

Brooks was accused of killing six people and injuring dozens of others when driving through that Waukesha Christmas parade crowd.

Judge announces verdict against Waukesha parade suspect

Prosecutors said that his failure to stop after hitting the first person shows his actions were intentional. She added that he tried to elude police by abandoning the SUV and shedding his sweatshirt as he ran away.

Brooks told jurors that he's a lot of things but he's not a murderer, and even got emotional during closing arguments as he asked the jury to "do the right thing."

He now faces mandatory life in prison. A hearing will be held on Monday for further scheduling in the case.

What happens next for Darrell Brooks, convicted in Waukesha parade attack?

The jury was sequestered after deliberating for just under two hours on Tuesday night. They then resumed their work Wednesday morning before coming to a guilty verdict.

"We've been resilient all the way through. One of the things I've said so much throughout this is that we're stronger than him, and it's been proven today," said parade victim Tyler Pudleiner.

Victims of the Waukesha parade tragedy united after a jury convicted Darrell Brooks on all counts.

Brooks sat silent as the verdicts were read in court.

"He tried to turn this into his story. Let's talk about Mr. Brooks and his family. And we kept redirecting it back to the real focus here our families our victims our community," said District Attorney Susan Opper.

Amber Kohnke's daughter, Jessalyn, was critically injured in last November's attack and is still recovering from another recent surgery.

"It's all very important. It means a ton, I mean my daughter was ran over that day. So, you know, it just means a bunch to me, it really does," Kohnke said.

The family of dancing granny Virginia Sorenson, who died that day, placed a small vial of her ashes in the courtroom as the verdicts were read. Her son spoke about that Wednesday.

"We've been praying for this day for a long time. This morning my 5-year-old daughter came up today and handed me this necklace with my mom's ashes in it. She told me to take my mom with us for the sentencing. So, she was with us today," said Sorenson's son, Marshall.

In a trial full of ups and downs, as Brooks represents himself, word of a social media post made by someone claiming to be a juror reached the courtroom.

The judge directly addressed jurors about the post, now believed to be a prank by an online impersonator.

"After this trial is completed you are free to communicate with anyone in any manner. These rules are intended to ensure that jurors remain impartial during the trial. If any juror believes that another juror has violated these rules, you should report that to me," said Judge Jennifer Dorow.

RELATED: Darrell Brooks trial: Waukesha parade attack suspect's court antics won't help appeal, experts say

The since-removed post, which was visible under a subReddit entitled "Justice4Darrell," accused Dorow of being biased against Brooks. It said, in part, "clearly she is not an impartial judge and has been trying to belittle, demean, bully and pull procedural tricks on him fairly frequently."

Dorow said there is no credible information supporting the user's claim to be a juror, adding that she handed the issue off to law enforcement.

"At this time, it is simply being investigated," Dorow said.

The post was later updated with a note, saying, "This was all a prank, I didn't think this would blow up like this. We are sorry."

Closing arguments also happened Tuesday, as prosecutors presented to the jury evidence they believe shows Brooks is guilty of killing six people and injuring dozens more at the Waukesha holiday parade last November.

Prosecutors said Brooks sped through the crowded parade route for several blocks in a fit of rage after an argument and then fled from police and tried to hide. They ended closing arguments with a video that they said shows all the carnage he caused.

A prosecutor apologized to the jury for the graphic nature of the video, but said they felt like it was important to show.

"Anyone who's really had conversations with me, spent time around me, wouldn't think for one second that this is an intentional act," Brooks said in his closing argument.

Brooks acted as his own attorney, and as has happened numerous times over the course of the extended trial, the judge removed Brooks from the courtroom again on Tuesday just before closing arguments began because of frequent outbursts.

Throughout the trial, Brooks sparred with the judge, at one point removed his own shirt, and aggressively cross examined witnesses who prosecutors said are victims of the crimes he committed.

SEE MORE: Waukesha parade suspect removed from courtroom several times after repeatedly arguing with judge

Among the six victims of the Waukesha Christmas Parade tragedy were four people affiliated with the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies, who were performing at the parade before being hit by the SUV driven by Brooks.

Following Brooks being found guilty of all charges, the organization took to Facebook to express their optimism that their mission will continue. They also noted that justice, in their eyes, has been served.

Their full statement can be found below:

Justice has been served and the Grannies are grateful to ALL who supported seeing the legal process through this point. Sentencing is yet to come. Even with all of this....lives are still gone. Lives are forever changed. A guilty verdict will never fix or change that. Now, is the next stage of learning to live the pain of terrible and totally senseless loss.

The next few months with parades will be hard, and will also be an active sign of resilience, of still living with deep and real trauma, as well as making choices to do what we need to do to heal individually and as a group. We will go on. Ultimately darkness will not overcome the light. We will grow and we will always be Grannie Strong!

We ask that the privacy of individuals and the group be respected.

We look forward to our busy holiday parade season, which begins on Nov 12th. We will see you at the Waukesha Christmas parade on December 4th.

Granny Strong

More information about the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies can be found on their Facebook page: facebook.com/Milwaukeedancingrannies

The Associated Press and CNN contributed to this report.