The man allegedly plowed his SUV into the Christmas parade that should have turned down a side street but didn’t. When he passed it, he never touched the brakes – dashing over and leaving the body in a sober state, according to the criminal complaint.
No motive has been released for Darrell Brooks Jr., the suspect in Sunday’s crash in suburban Milwaukee that left six people dead and more than 60 injured, but it may not matter if he does. court. Legal experts say this evidence strongly supports the charges of willful murder that means jail time.
Former Waukesha district attorney Paul Bucher said that it can be difficult to prove intent to the first person Brooks attacked, “but when he goes on and knows what he did to the first person and doesn’t stop, It’s all intentional.”
Brooks, 39, was charged with five counts of willful first-degree murder and is expected to face a sixth count after an 8-year-old boy died on Tuesday. Waukesha County District Attorney Susan Opper has also said there may be additional fees.
Brooks’ attorneys, Jeremy Perri and Anna Kees, have warned people not to hear the case until all the facts are known.
“It is essential that we should not rush to judgment, and instead treat these proceedings and all those involved with dignity and respect,” they said in a statement.
“That includes Mr. Brooks, who is entitled to strong defense and careful protection of his Constitutional rights. No matter how serious and emotional the accusations, until the government proves it. If his allegations are beyond a reasonable doubt, our client is presumed innocent.”
Opper said Wednesday her office would not comment on a pending case.
Brooks allegedly refused to stop even as an officer banged on the hood of his SUV. Another officer fired three shots at the car, but it didn’t stop.
Five people between the ages of 52 and 81 were declared dead within hours. One of the many injured children, 8-year-old Jackson Sparks, died on Tuesday. Some of the injured are still in critical condition.
Brooks has not spoken publicly and does not know what, if anything, he told investigators.
But even if Brooks was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time – and police have not said he was affected – that couldn’t be used as a defense in Wisconsin. experts said.
Tom Grieve, Brooks’ defense attorney and former Waukesha County prosecutor, said one possibility is that Brooks is mentally ill or disabled. The jury will have to decide if he committed the crime and then whether he is mentally ill. Such a discovery would likely land him in a mental institution rather than prison.
Opper could charge Brooks with first-degree reckless murder, which would be a “slam dunk” sentence that, given Brooks’ age, would be a life sentence in effect, Bucher said. However, extensive video and other evidence also support the more serious allegation, he and other experts said.
“His failure to press the brake: It was intentional. His stepping on the gas: It was intentional. He could stop ΓÇª He was the only one who could put his foot on the brake pedal and he didn’t, “Grieve said.
A criminal complaint details the charges including statements by police officers and witnesses that said the vehicle “appears to be moving to one side on purpose”, making no attempt to slow down or stop. because it hit many people and sent bodies and objects flying.
An employee who attempted to stop the vehicle said Brooks was looking directly at him and appeared to have no emotion on his face, the lawsuit said.
Prosecutors will not be allowed to put police or outsiders on a stand to speculate about what Brooks was up to or his state of mind, experts said.
Bucher said prosecutors would also not be able to recommend social media posts by Brooks, an aspiring rapper, or his lyrics suggesting violence – which has become the subject of many speculation on social media that Brooks’ actions were intentional.
Brooks includes social media links to his songs, some of which seem to glorify violence and call police “pigs”. In the bio on his SoundCloud account, he mentions growing up in the “dangerous neighborhood west of Washington Park” in Milwaukee, “many legal battles” and his desire to make “his life live on the street” to music.
Brooks, who has been charged more than a dozen times since 1999, had two prominent cases brought against him at the time of the march disaster, including one in early November in which he was accused of intentionally stabbing a woman with his vehicle in Milwaukee County. He was given $1,000 free bail for that case, which prosecutors now say is disproportionately low.
And on Sunday, Brooks left the scene of a domestic dispute that took place minutes before he drove onto the parade route, Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson said.
Some experts have predicted an urgent deal.
“If I were in this case, what I would try to do is see how to put out this fire as quickly as possible,” said Phil Turner, a former federal prosecutor who now works in Chicago. “If you let it last, it will only get worse.”