Justice Served: Parade Killer Darrell Brooks Faces Increased Restitution for Six Lives Lost
In a decisive move aimed at safeguarding justice, a Wisconsin judge has demanded additional restitution from a man responsible for the heart-wrenching loss of six lives during a Christmas parade in suburban Milwaukee. By taking this action, the judge aims to prevent any potential profiteering from the tragic incident through lucrative movie or book deals.
Darrell Brooks Jr., who faced a staggering 76 charges, including six counts of homicide and 61 counts of reckless endangerment, was found guilty in October for plowing his SUV through the downtown Waukesha parade in 2021. Bestowing a sentence of six consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole, Waukesha County Circuit Judge Jennifer Dorow has already ordered him to pay approximately $171,400 in restitution in November.
Behind the wheel of his vivid red Ford Escape, Brooks recklessly drove through the parade grounds, driven by a volatile altercation with his former girlfriend. Among the victims were eight-year-old Jackson Sparks, innocently marching with his beloved baseball team, as well as three cherished members of the renowned Dancing Grannies group. A multitude of others suffered injuries in the calamity.
By reinforcing the restitution amount, Judge Dorow demonstrates her unwavering commitment to ensuring that the victims’ families receive the support they deserve. This proactive measure seeks to prevent any potential gains from exploiting this tragic event, while simultaneously sending a resolute message that justice will be served.
In a courtroom spectacle filled with intensity, Darrell Brooks Jr., the man responsible for the devastating Christmas parade incident, claimed mental illness as a defense, asserting that he had no intention of driving into the parade route. However, Judge Dorow, recognizing the need to uphold justice and protect the victims, ordered an increased restitution amount of $476,200 at the urging of District Attorney Susan Opper. Opper emphasized the importance of replenishing taxpayer funds used to support Brooks’ victims, expressing concerns about potential profiteering from Brooks’ story in the form of book or movie deals.
Brooks’ attorney, Michael Covey, vehemently contested the heightened restitution, arguing that it was an unnecessary burden on his already impoverished client. Covey stated that Brooks’ meager wages from menial prison jobs would render him unable to pay anything, and the likelihood of anyone paying for his story was minute.
Refuting Covey’s claims, Judge Dorow pointed out that without the generous donations from well-wishers, the victims would have faced an even larger financial burden. To ensure a constant reminder of the pain inflicted, the judge decided to garnish Brooks’ prison wages while acknowledging the genuine possibility of someone paying for his story. According to state law, any money earned from such deals would be placed in an escrow account.
Judge Dorow emphasized the public’s fascination with crime stories, alluding to popular platforms like Netflix that cater to this demand. Under Wisconsin law, if someone agrees to pay a convicted criminal for their story, the funds must first be used to cover legal fees, court judgments, and victim claims.
Out of the increased restitution amount, approximately $134,000 would be allocated to the state’s crime victim fund, a taxpayer-supported account that provides reimbursement to crime victims for their losses. The remaining funds would be distributed among various victims’ insurance companies.
In November, Judge Dorow had already directed around $47,000 of the initial restitution to reimburse the Waukesha school district’s insurance company, as several Waukesha South High School band members participating in the parade had been injured. The rest of the funds were allocated to the state’s crime victim compensation fund.
Throughout the proceedings, Brooks represented himself, creating a spectacle in the courtroom. He engaged in heated arguments with Judge Dorow, tore off his shirt, built a fort out of his boxes of files, and refused to respond to his own name. The case garnered significant attention, even leading Judge Dorow to make an unsuccessful bid for the state Supreme Court, capitalizing on her newfound recognition.
During the hearing, Brooks appeared via a prison video feed, maintaining silence throughout the proceedings. However, when asked if he could hear, he offered a thumbs-up, while expressing his disagreement with reminders of his crimes through a disapproving shake of his head.
The courtroom became a stage for high-stakes theatrics as Darrell Brooks Jr., donning the role of his own legal counsel, found himself embroiled in a combative battle during the trial. With fireworks igniting, he engaged in intense shouting matches with Judge Dorow, boldly asserting his immunity from governmental constraints and even refusing to respond to his own name. The disruptive nature of his behavior forced Judge Dorow to summon bailiffs, orchestrating a relocation to a separate courtroom where she could silence his microphone, attempting to restore order amidst the chaos.
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