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Darrell Brooks Updates

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Defense attorneys in Waukesha parade crash want 2023 trial

MADISON, Wis. — Attorneys for a man accused of killing six people and injuring dozens more when he drove his SUV through last year's Waukesha Christmas Parade told a judge Tuesday that they can't be ready for trial by fall as scheduled and need to push the proceeding into next year.

Darrell Brooks Jr.'s trial is slated to begin Oct. 3 and run all that month. His attorneys told Waukesha County Circuit Judge Jennifer Dorow during a hearing that the time frame is unrealistic given the volume of evidence they need to review and the trial should be held in early 2023.

The judge gave them until Friday to file a formal motion to reschedule the trial. She set a hearing for Monday afternoon on the request.

Dorow added she may rule then on the defense's request to move the trial out of Waukesha County or bring a jury in from another county. Brooks' attorneys filed the request in February, arguing publicity about the case had been overwhelmingly negative toward Brooks and he can't get a fair trial in Waukesha.

Dorow had asked Brooks' attorneys and prosecutors to put together a questionnaire to send to potential jurors to gauge local bias as she considers moving the trial. The two sides spent most of the day Tuesday hashing out the wording. They came up with a 19-page, 100-question survey asking potential jurors if they knew any of the parade victims, whether they themselves were impacted in any way by the incident and whether they feel they're still impacted.

The judge said at the end of Tuesday's hearing she may decide on moving the trial without using the questionnaires. She noted that if the trial is pushed into next year, she can't send them out until October anyway because the county won't receive its list of eligible jurors 2023 from state judicial officials until then.

Brooks drove his SUV into the parade in downtown Waukesha on Nov. 21, swerving into people and running them over as he plowed through the route, according to a criminal complaint. Six people died and more than 60 were injured. Prosecutors have charged him with more than 70 counts, including six counts of homicide. Any potential motive remains unclear.

Brooks attorney Anna Kees told Dorow on Tuesday that the defense team hasn't decided what arguments to make but a not guilty plea due to insanity is a possible avenue.

 

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The suspect in the Waukesha parade tragedy faces more than 70 new charges

Prosecutors have filed 71 new charges in their case against the suspect in last November's Waukesha, Wisconsin parade tragedy that left six people dead and dozens more injured.

Darrell Brooks was previously charged with six counts of first-degree intentional homicide related to the victims killed in the crash. Now, he is facing a total of 77 charges, according to online court records reviewed by NPR.

The new charges, filed on Wednesday, include 61 counts of first degree recklessly endangering safety with a dangerous weapon, six counts of committing a hit and run causing a death, two felony charges of bail jumping and two counts of domestic abuse.

Authorities say children and elderly parade performers were among the more than 50 people seriously injured and killed at the Waukesha Christmas Parade.

Waukesha Police Chief Daniel Thompson said previously that Brooks had "intentionally" driven his vehicle into the parade. Authorities have said there is no clear motive as to why Brooks allegedly did so.

Brooks, 39, has not yet entered a plea on the earlier six charges of homicide.

Prior to the parade crash, Brooks was accused of using his vehicle to hurt a woman in a separate incident. According to court records, Brooks confronted a woman outside of a motel, knocking her phone out of her hand and driving off. Authorities said Brooks then returned, punched her in the face and ran her over with his vehicle.

Brooks was out on $1,000 cash bail for this case when he allegedly drove into the parade.

NPR's efforts to contact the Milwaukee District Attorney's Office were unsuccessful.

Brooks is listed as an inmate at Waukesha County Jail. His next court appearance is scheduled for Friday.

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