30 March 2022
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Attorneys for a man accused of killing six people and injuring dozens more when he drove his SUV through a Christmas parade in suburban Milwaukee told a judge Tuesday that they can’t be ready for trial by fall as scheduled and need to push the proceeding into next year.
Darrell Brooks Jr.’s trial is slated to begin Oct. 3 and run all that month. His attorneys told Waukesha County Circuit Judge Jennifer Dorow during a hearing that the time frame is unrealistic given the volume of evidence they need to review and the trial should be held in early 2023.
The judge gave them until Friday to file a formal motion to reschedule the trial. She set a hearing for Monday afternoon on the request.
Dorow added she may rule then on the defense’s request to move the trial out of Waukesha County or bring a jury in from another county. Brooks’ attorneys filed the request in February, arguing publicity about the case had been overwhelmingly negative toward Brooks and he can’t get a fair trial in Waukesha.
Dorow had asked Brooks’ attorneys and prosecutors to put together a questionnaire to send to potential jurors to gauge local bias as she considers moving the trial. The two sides spent most of the day Tuesday hashing out the wording. They came up with a 19-page, 100-question survey asking potential jurors if they knew any of the parade victims, whether they themselves were impacted in any way by the incident and whether they feel they’re still impacted.
The judge said at the end of Tuesday’s hearing she may decide on moving the trial without using the questionnaires. She noted that if the trial is pushed into next year, she can’t send them out until October anyway because the county won’t receive its list of eligible jurors 2023 from state judicial officials until then.
Brooks drove his SUV into the parade in downtown Waukesha on Nov. 21, swerving into people and running them over as he plowed through the route, according to a criminal complaint. Six people died and more than 60 were injured. Prosecutors have charged him with more than 70 counts, including six counts of homicide. Any potential motive remains unclear.
Brooks attorney Anna Kees told Dorow on Tuesday that the defense team hasn’t decided what arguments to make but a not guilty plea due to insanity is a possible avenue.
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