Judge allows Waukesha parade suspect to represent himself at trial

WAUKESHA, Wis. — The man charged in connection with last year’s Waukesha parade tragedy can represent himself at trial, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Darrell Brooks, 40, faces 77 charges, including six counts of first-degree intentional homicide and 61 counts of reckless endangerment. He initially pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, but later withdrew the plea.

Waukesha County Circuit Judge Jennifer Dorow granted his request after he filed a waiver of right to attorney Wednesday morning.

“I want you to know that waiving your right to an attorney does not mean the trial is delayed. Did you hear me say that?” Dorow asked Brooks during the hearing.

Brooks replied a delay to the trial was not the reason why he sought to represent himself, but did not answer Dorow directly when she asked if he did not want to delay the trial.

“That’s not what I said. I said the decision to represent myself pro per had nothing to do with a delay tactic,” Brooks said.

At several points during Wednesday’s hearing, Dorow reprimanded Brooks for interrupting her while she was speaking.

“Mr. Brooks, your rights do not involve interrupting me,” she said when Brooks claimed it was his First Amendment right to say what he wanted to say. “At trial, what’s going to happen if you continue to do that is you will be admonished in front of the jury.”

“That’s fine,” Brooks replied.

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Brooks is accused of driving an SUV into a crowded Christmas parade in downtown Waukesha on November 21, 2021, killing six people and injuring dozens more. Nearly a year later, the motive for the incident remains unclear.

Brooks’ trial is scheduled to begin on Monday.