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Life sentence for US man who killed six in driving rampage

By AFP
17 November 2022   |   10:01 am
A man who ploughed his sports utility vehicle into a Christmas parade in Wisconsin last year and killed six people was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without parole.

Darrell Brooks PHOTO: MARK HOFFMAN/POOL via REUTERS

A man who ploughed his sports utility vehicle into a Christmas parade in Wisconsin last year and killed six people was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without parole.

A jury in October found Darrell Brooks, 40 guilty of multiple charges of first-degree intentional murder, reckless endangerment and hit-and-run after a three-week trial.

Brooks faced mandatory life imprisonment in a two-day sentencing hearing in the city of Waukesha where the attack happened in November 2021.

Judge Jennifer Dorow said, “frankly, you deserve it.” She said Brooks had hit a total of 68 people with his car.

“There are so many aggravating factors here it’s frankly difficult to even keep track of all,” the judge said.

She cited “complete disregard for the life of anyone else”, a prior criminal record, and a “complete and utter lack of remorse.”

On Tuesday people who were hit in the rampage testified about their trauma and suffering.

In his defence, Brooks’s mother said her son had psychiatric problems and it would be more appropriate to institutionalize him.

Brooks himself in a rambling speech said he was sorry and that he does not understand why he did what he did.

“That’s a question I struggle with myself,” Brooks said.

But as he did several times during the trial itself, Brooks interrupted the judge and refused instructions to be quiet or sit down, even though he was confined to a separate room for the sentencing part of the trial.

“You might have some of your own mental health issues, whether it be bipolar childhood trauma or things of that nature. But the bottom line is, none of that caused you to do what you did on November 21 of 2021,” said the judge.

Four women, one man and an eight-year-old girl were killed in the rampage, and dozens of other people watching and taking part in the parade were injured.

Brooks steered his red SUV into the marching musicians, dancers and children along a central Waukesha avenue for the Christmas parade, not slowing down or attempting to avoid the parade.

“He was boiling over with rage and anger and decided not to control,” said Dorow.

“He chose to drive recklessly, carelessly, and maliciously through a parade route at anyone in his path.”

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