(CBS/AP) — A Wisconsin jury found Darrell Brooks guilty on all six counts of murder in the Waukesha Christmas Parade attack.
Brooks, convicted of killing six people, now faces a life sentence.
Darrell Brooks faced 76 charges in connection with the attack, including six counts of intentional first-degree murder.
Brooks represented himself at what was a chaotic trial, arguing with Judge Jennifer Dorow every day of the trial, refusing to acknowledge his own name and insisting that the state has no jurisdiction over him. Several times, judge bailiffs had him moved to another courtroom where he could watch the proceedings via video, but they were able to mute his microphone when he became disruptive.
Brooks initially pleaded not guilty to mental illness but withdrew the plea in September without explanation. Just days before his trial began on October 3, he fired his public defenders and elected to represent himself.
In closing arguments on Tuesday, Waukesha County District Attorney Susan Opper said Brooks didn’t stop to stop after hitting the first person in the parade shows, he planned to kill people, she said.
“Just stop driving. That’s it. It really is that simple. Not a single person would have been hurt that day if they had just stopped driving,” said Opper. “He plowed through 68 different people. Sixty-eight. How can you hit one and move on? How can you hit two and go on? How can you hit three and keep going? touch.”
She concluded her comments by playing a video of what she said was “the carnage” Brooks had caused in the parade.
The live stream The Associated Press used to watch the trial proceeding doesn’t pan to the video, but Judge Dorow appeared to shudder at one point while watching it, and Deputy District Attorney Lesli Boese appeared to be swallowing tears.
Brooks tried to claim that the SUV had been recalled due to an accelerator malfunction. After Opper objected — a Wisconsin State Patrol vehicle inspector testified earlier in the trial that the vehicle was in good working order, including the brakes — he suggested the driver may have panicked. He noted that some witnesses testified that they heard the horn of the SUV honk.
He didn’t fully admit to being the driver, but said that at night when he’s alone in his cell, he often asks how “this” happened. But he never questioned whether “this” was intentional, because he knows it wasn’t. He did not explain what he was referring to by the word ‘this’.
“I got a lot of calls throughout the year,” Brooks said. ‘And to be honest I am a lot of things. A murderer isn’t one of them.’
“You should look in the mirror, Mr. Brooks,” Opper said during her rebuttal. “Your actions are those of a murderer.”
Prosecutors allege Brooks got into an argument with his ex-girlfriend on the streets of Waukesha when the parade began on Nov. 21, fled in his SUV and drove it into the parade. Opper told the jury that she doesn’t know why Brooks entered the parade, other than that he was furious.
In addition to the number of murders, he faces 61 counts of reckless danger. Any number of murders carries a mandatory life sentence. Each count of reckless danger carries a maximum penalty of 17 1/2 years in prison.