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WUWM's coverage of the Darrell Brooks trial. He is the Milwaukee man accused of using his SUV to kill six people and injure dozens more at the Waukesha Christmas parade in 2021.

Man accused in Waukesha parade deaths pleads not guilty

Man wearing a red shirt and a facemask
Chuck Quirmbach
Darrell Brooks entering court on Feb. 11 in Waukesha County Courthouse.

Updated 2:53 p.m. CDT

A Milwaukee man accused of killing six people and injuring dozens more when he drove an SUV through a Christmas parade in Waukesha pleaded not guilty Friday to scores of criminal charges.

Darrell Brooks Jr., 39, entered the pleas to 77 charges, including six counts of homicide and multiple counts of reckless endangerment, during a court appearance that lasted less than five minutes. He's due back in court next month.

Earlier this week, Brooks and his lawyers asked for a new judge in the case. That request has been granted. Brooks' attorneys also filed for a change of venue in the case or that a jury be brought in from another county on Thursday, but it's not clear when that motion will be considered. He remains jailed on $5 million bail.

Last month, court Commissioner Kevin Costello said prosecutors had presented “ample” evidence to show Brooks probably committed felonies and ordered him to stand trial.

During the preliminary hearing, police detective Thomas Casey testified that he and other officers yelled at Brooks to stop as he drove the SUV through the parade in downtown Waukesha on Nov. 21.

He described how the vehicle zigzagged across the street for blocks, smashing into marchers from behind and running them over. He said Brooks injured 61 people, including the six people he killed.

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.

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