Darrell Brooks pleads not guilty to 77 charges

Darrell Brooks, the man accused of driving through a Waukesha Christmas parade and killing six people appeared in court today and pleaded not guilty to 77 charges.

Darrell Brooks Jr. on Friday pleaded not guilty to 77 charges, including six homicide counts, tied to the Waukesha Christmas Parade tragedy, but what exactly his defense team has in mind became clearer one day earlier.

In separate motions Thursday, defense attorney Jeremy Perri filed two key requests on behalf of the 39-year-old Milwaukee man, including a change of venue request that was not immediately discussed…

Brooks’ attorneys have requested his trial be held in another county or before a jury drawn from another county. In either circumstance, they ask that the jury be sequestered during trial, a rare and expensive precaution…

“While publicity is certainly relevant to determining the issue in the present case, additional factors also demonstrate that, in this case and in Waukesha County, the passions and prejudice negatively affecting the Defendant’s constitutional right to a fair trial are so great that a change of venue is necessary to ensure a fair trial,” the attorneys wrote.

Brooks’ attorneys have also requested that another judge take the case but no reason was given for the request.

I understand that Brooks’ attorneys are required to make their best effort on his behalf but it seems obvious that prosecutors have enough evidence that these procedural efforts won’t matter. So far it seems the best explanation the defense can offer is that he drove past officers shouting for him to stop and then plowed into dozens of people because he couldn’t go through the barriers along the side streets:

Brooks’ attorney, public defender Anna Kees, maintained that he couldn’t turn off the parade route because the side streets were barricaded and full of spectators. She noted, too, that he told detectives that he didn’t mean to kill anyone and couldn’t bring himself to look when detectives showed him photos of the carnage.

Not mentioned by his public defender is the fact that the car also had a brake pedal and Brooks could have stopped the car at any time if he was concerned about harming pedestrians. And remember, one police detective said it appeared Brooks was zig-zagging to hit as many people as possible. So even the claim that he feels terrible about killing all of those people is going to be in serious doubt. There’s still no clear motive for this incident. All we know is that Brooks had just beat up his girlfriend because he was angry about her response to…being run over with the same car.

Minutes before the parade, Brooks allegedly beat the mother of his child because she refused to bail him out of jail after he was arrested for allegedly running her over with the same vehicle, a 2010 maroon Ford Escape, earlier in November, according to court documents filed last month.

Replacing the judge and sequestering the jury won’t matter. There is no jury that’s going to hesitate to convict Brooks given the evidence. He is going to be convicted on six counts of murder, each of which comes with a mandatory life sentence. The bottom line is that he has no chance of minimizing this and will spend the rest of his life in prison which is as it should be. His next court appearance will take place one month from today.

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