Darrell Brooks, the suspect in the Waukesha car-collision massacre that left multiple people dead and dozens wounded, appeared in court on Tuesday, where he was charged with five counts of intentional homicide.
After the incident, in which an individual driving an SUV plowed into a crowd attending a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wis., on Sunday, Brooks was identified as the primary suspect and was taken into custody by law enforcement. As of Tuesday, there were six confirmed victims, among them some elderly and an eight-year-old boy. Personnel interrupted the proceedings Tuesday to inform the court commissioner of the sixth fatality.
A count of first-degree homicide is classified as a Class A felony that receives a mandatory life sentence for each count the defendant is convicted of.
The prosecution noted that Brooks had a long criminal history prior to the car crash, including violent offenses such as domestic abuse, battery, disorderly conduct, recklessly endangering safety, bail-jumping felony, and resisting or obstructing an officer. When he committed the crime Sunday, Brooks faced multiple pending cases in Milwaukee County involving second-degree reckless endangerment and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
“There’s a long history of flights, obstructing, bail jumping type behavior, Your Honor,” the prosecution said. They said that Brooks failed to appear in court in the past for a number of charges, noting that this raises “very significant concerns about Mr. Brooks’ flight history and willingness to obey the law.”
The court commissioner reviewed Brooks’s prior convictions, outstanding warrants for his arrest, and other exhibits of his noncompliance, saying: “This gentleman doesn’t follow rules very well.”
“I believe you are a flight risk,” he said. “There’s a failure to follow court orders.”
Since the sixth victim, who passed away from injuries, was announced Tuesday, the prosecution is expected to level another charge of intentional homicide on Brooks. The prosecution complaint was filed on behalf of the over 60 victims who suffered bodily casualties as a result of Brooks’s actions. It also requested a steep $5 million bail for Brooks, stating that “there are not words to describe the risk that this defendant presents to our community, not only flight risk, but the dangerous that he presents his history of violence and the allegations in this complaint . . .”
Brooks’ previous bail postings were a point of contention Monday, as Milwaukee County district attorney John Chisholm called for an investigation into the “inappropriately low” $1,000 cash bond offered to Brooks that enabled him to leave prison in a matter of days, after which he rammed into the crowd.
“This State’s bail recommendation in this case was inappropriately low in light of the nature of the recent charges and the pending charges against Mr. Brooks,” Chisholm wrote in a release announcing the internal review into the estimate.