Why Darrell Brooks won't get the death penalty? Jury deliberations begin in Waukesha parade trial

Why Darrell Brooks won't get the death penalty? Jury deliberations begin in Waukesha parade trial
Darrell Brooks elected to represent himself in the trial (Mark Hoffman-Pool/Getty Images and WISN video screenshot)

WAUKESHA, WISCONSIN: Three weeks into the trial for Waukesha Christmas parade tragedy accused Darrell Brooks, 40, prosecutors are just a day away from concluding the case that began on October 3. Six people were left dead and more than 60 were injured when Brooks allegedly rammed his red 2010 Ford Escape into the Waukesha Christmas Parade on November 21, 2021.

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Brooks, who faces six counts of first-degree intentional homicide, 61 counts of recklessly endangering safety, six counts of hit-and-run causing death and two counts of bail jumping, and one count of misdemeanour battery, will face mandatory life in prison if convicted on intentional homicide charges.

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Brooks, who has elected to represent himself in the trial, has been repeatedly removed from the courtroom for disruptions throughout the proceedings. On Tuesday, October 25, he asked jurors during his 50-minute closing argument to consider whether the car could have malfunctioned and the effects of the trial on his family. He said, as quoted by CNN, “What if the vehicle couldn’t stop because of malfunction? What if the driver of the vehicle was unable to stop the vehicle? Because of that fact, what if the driver may have panicked? Does that make the driver in a rage and intent on killing people?"

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"I’ve never heard of someone trying to intentionally hurt someone while attempting to blow their horn while attempting to alert people of their presence. Whatever you decide, make sure you yourself can live with it. That’s the magnitude of the power that you have. Be at peace with what you decide," Brooks said.

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'You must not consider anything about Darrell Brooks'

On the other hand, Waukesha County District Attorney Susan Opper opposed Brooks’ claims, saying his appeal to jurors to "care about his family" should be seen in light of other families involved in the tragedy who will never be able to see their loved ones again. "There are 68 victims in this case, folks. That’s not an accident. He reached speeds of approximately 30 mph. That’s intentional. He plowed through 68 different people, 68. How can you hit one and keep going? How can you hit two and keep going. You must not, not, not consider anything about Darrell Brooks other than his conduct in downtown Waukesha on the evening of November 21, 2021. Nothing he’s done before that, nothing he’s done since that. When you go back to that deliberation room, please obey Judge Dorow. Confine your comments to his conduct on November 21," Opper told the jury. The dead were identified as Tamara Durand, 52, Wilhelm Hospel, 81, Jane Kulich, 52, LeAnna Owen, 71, Virginia Sorenson, 79 and Jackson Sparks, 8.

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Deliberations and the final verdict

Deliberations has already started and the judge has ordered the jury, consisting of 16 people, 10 men and six women, to be sequestered at a hotel until they reach a verdict in each of the 76 counts. Criminal defense attorney Michael Hart says juries are rarely sequestered as he said, "In high profile cases where there is almost constant talk, this particular case I think is gavel-to-gavel coverage on network TV where people are being exposed to it, the fear is that the jury would be influenced by it, so the thinking is in sequestering a jury for deliberations, the court can shield the jury from any outside influence."

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On Tuesday, October 25, after deliberating for an hour and 45 minutes, the jurors completed their first day of deliberations without reaching to conclusion. And now, they are expected to return to court to continue their deliberations on Wednesday, October 26, at 9.30 am ET.

Could Brooks face death penalty?

If Brooks is convicted of any of the six counts of first-degree intentional homicide, he would face a mandatory life sentence. But not dealth penalty as Wisconsin abolished the capital punishment on July 10, 1853 and was the first state to do so, as per Wisconsin Examiner.

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How to watch the case?

Multiple YouTube channels and news outlets are providing the live coverage of the trial, including Law&Crime Network, Court TV, WISN-TV, WDJT-TV, and WLS-TV.

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