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Man found guilty of killing six in Wisconsin Christmas parade

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Darrell Brooks was convicted of killing six and injuring dozens of others when he drove his car through the Waukesha, Wisconsin Christmas parade last November./AFP
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Oct 27, 2022 - 03:03 AM

WASHINGTON — A man who plowed his sports utility vehicle through Waukesha, Wisconsin’s annual Christmas parade last year, killing six people, was found guilty of murder Wednesday.

Darrell Brooks faces mandatory life imprisonment on the six charges of first-degree intentional murder and dozens more charges of reckless endangerment and hit-and-run after a three-week trial.

Four women, one man and an eight-year-old girl were killed in the November 21, 2021 rampage, and dozens of other people watching and taking part in the parade were injured.

Brooks, 40, steered his red SUV into the marching musicians, dancers and children along a central Waukesha avenue, not slowing down or attempting to avoid the parade.

The incident took place as tensions were high in the Midwestern state following a high-profile acquittal in the racially charged trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, a teen who fatally shot two people during Black Lives Matter protests in nearby Kenosha in August 2020.

But there was no clear indication that Brooks, an African-American, had political motivations when he crashed his car into the crowd.

His family later said he had a history of mental health problems. He also had a record of arrests in various states, for charges including assault and domestic abuse.

“Burn in hell, you piece of shit,” a person in the audience shouted at Brooks after the first guilty verdict, out of a total of 76 counts, was read out.

The judge immediately ejected that person from the court.

The trial was marked by Brooks’ insistence on representing himself rather than hiring an attorney or using one appointed by the court, and the judge repeatedly wrestled with his lack of knowledge of the law and court procedure.

He opened Wednesday’s verdict hearing by raising various objections over the court’s jurisdiction, which were rejected by the judge.

Asked to comment after the verdicts were read out, he said, “What is judgment?”

The judge said she will decide later on a date for sentencing.

Under Wisconsin law, first degree murder brings a mandatory life sentence.

It was not immediately clear if Brooks would appeal the verdict.

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