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Christmas parade attack suspect pleads not guilty

Darrell Brooks Jr faces a total of 77 charges.
Christmas Parade SUV
Posted at 10:44 AM, Feb 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-11 13:50:26-05

WAUKESHA, Wis. — A man accused of driving into a Christmas parade in Wisconsin and killing six people and injuring dozens of others pleaded not guilty Friday.

Darrell Brooks Jr., 39, is facing 77 charges, including six counts of homicide and multiple counts of reckless endangerment.

Friday’s court appearance lasted less than five minutes.

During the preliminary hearing, police detective Thomas Casey testified that he and other officers yelled at Brooks to stop as he drove the SUV through the parade in downtown Waukesha on November 21.

He described how the vehicle zigzagged across the street for blocks, smashing into marchers from behind and running them over.

He said Brooks injured 61 people, including the six people he killed.

The victims were identified as Jackson Sparks, 8, Virginia Sorenson, 79; LeAnna Owen, 71; Jane Kulich, 52; Wilhelm Hospel, 81; and Tamara Durand, 52.

Brooks’ attorney, public defender Anna Kees, maintained that Brooks couldn’t turn off the parade route because the side streets were barricaded and full of spectators.

She noted, too, that he told detectives that he didn’t mean to kill anyone and couldn’t bring himself to look when detectives showed him photos of the carnage.

If convicted, even for one homicide charge, Brooks would face mandatory life in prison.

Brooks remains jailed on $5 million cash bail.