New video shows van in Waukesha knocking down parade barriers 1:13
(WABNEWS) Darrell Brooks told jurors Tuesday during closing arguments that he did not intentionally ram a van into a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, last year, which left six dead and dozens injured.
Brooks has been representing himself during this approximately three-week trial. With tears in his eyes, he asked the jury during his 50-minute closing argument to consider whether the car might have failed during the incident last November and the effects the trial — along with the negative press — has had on his family.RELATED
“What if the vehicle was unable to stop due to a malfunction? What if the driver of the vehicle was unable to stop the vehicle? By that fact, what if the driver may have panicked? driver gets enraged and intends to kill people?” Brooks asked, claiming there was a recall of the vehicle he drove that day. Waukesha County Judge Jennifer Dorow struck those comments from the record.
“I’ve never heard of someone intentionally trying to hurt someone while trying to honk their horn at the same time they’re trying to alert people to their presence,” Brooks said.
The defendant went on to repeatedly allege that “misconceptions” and “lies” had been told about him during the trial. After saying that his conscience is clear and that he had made his peace with God, Brooks spent much of the last 10 minutes of his closing remarks repeatedly telling the jury to be at peace with his verdict and that he did not regret it.
“Whatever you decide, make sure you can live with it. That’s the magnitude of the power you have,” Brooks said. “Be at peace with what you decide.”
Waukesha County District Attorney Susan Opper refuted Brooks’ claims, saying she wants jurors to care about her family when other families in this tragedy may never see their loved ones again.
“There are 68 victims in this case, folks. That is not an accident,” Opper said.
Despite Brooks’ claims that he did not intentionally hit people with a truck, Opper repeatedly told the jury that there is overwhelming evidence to show that Brooks was fully aware of his actions when he drove his truck through a crowd of hundreds of people.
“He hit speeds of about 30 mph (48 km/h). That’s intentional. He crashed into 68 different people, 68. How can you hit one and keep going? How can you hit two and keep going?” Opper asked.
Opper also told jurors not to be distracted from their deliberations by Brooks’ conduct during the trial.
“You must not, no, consider anything about Darrell Brooks other than his conduct in downtown Waukesha on the night of November 21, 2021,” Opper told the jury. “Nothing he’s done before that, nothing he’s done since. When you get back in the deliberation room, obey Judge Dorow. Limit his comments to his conduct on November 21.”
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Jurors will now deliberate whether to convict Brooks, who has pleaded not guilty to more than 70 charges, including six counts of first-degree intentional homicide. He previously pleaded not guilty to insanity, but his public defenders withdrew the insanity plea in September. The attorneys subsequently filed a motion to withdraw from the case, and the judge decided to allow Brooks to represent himself at trial.
Brooks’s unusual decision to represent himself in court and his persistent interruptions coupled with his outlandish behavior have caused constant interruptions throughout the trial. He talked about the prosecutors and the judge, asked vague questions, challenged the court’s jurisdiction and declared that “Darrell Brooks” is not his name.
Judge Dorow has repeatedly removed Brooks from court for his outbursts and placed him in a nearby courtroom, where he can communicate via a monitor and microphone that is usually muted.
WABNEWS’s Eric Levenson contributed to this report.