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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.

Jury selected for Waukesha parade deaths trial ahead of opening statements slated for Thursday

Chuck Quirmbach
Waukesha County Clerk of Courts Monica Paz (in dark jacket) opens a metal tumbler containing numbers assigned to potential jurors after trial judge Jennifer Dorow directed Paz to do so. Defendant Darrell Brooks mostly refused to follow court orders when he was allowed to strike individuals from the jury pool. So, Paz withdrew eight numbers, meaning those jurors would be dismissed. Photo is taken from a video monitor in the basement media room of the Waukesha County Courthouse.

A jury of ten men and six women from Waukesha County will hear the trial of Darrell Brooks. Twelve will eventually issue a verdict. It appeared to news reporters covering the trial that all 16 jurors are white, while Brooks is Black.

The defendant is accused of killing six people and injuring dozens, when he allegedly drove his SUV through the Waukesha Christmas parade last November. He's plead not guilty to all 76 charges against him.

Jury selection finally wrapped up late Tuesday, after another day slowed by frequent verbal clashes between Judge Jennifer Dorow, and Brooks, who is representing himself. The defendant wound up being removed to an adjacent courtroom for most of the day, watching the proceedings via computer, and commenting when the judge unmuted his microphone.

Brooks repeatedly said he didn't want to come back to the trial courtroom, fearing the judge would consider his behavior disruptive, and just send him back to the alternate site.

Another delay occurred when Brooks and Waukesha County prosecutors were going through what are called peremptory challenges—the process of removing ten people apiece from the final jury pool of 36 without a stated reason. The defendant kept trying to strike the entire pool, saying he believed all three dozen people would have been biased against him.

The image is taken of a video monitor in the basement media room of the Waukesha County Courthouse.
Defendant Darrell Brooks (left) hands a bailiff a clipboard containing numbers assigned to members of the jury pool. Brooks had crossed out all the numbers, which is something Judge Jennifer Dorow ruled as not allowed.

Dorow refused to dump the pool. And she had Brooks' first eight strikes done for him by having a court official draw juror numbers out of a metal tumbler. Brooks did the final two strikes as he followed court procedure.

The next big phase of the trial appears to be opening statements, which are scheduled for Thursday. The prosecution will go first. When it's Brooks' turn, Milwaukee-area defense attorney Julius Kim says the defendant may struggle.

"I'm not sure he's going to know what to say or what he can say and can't say. It's really a time for lawyers or for people to map out or anticipate what the evidence is going to show. I'm not sure Mr. Brooks is aware of that, and so I anticipate there could be a lot of objections along the way from the state and sustained objections by the court. They're going to try to keep Mr. Brooks in a certain lane, and that may make that opening statement kind of choppy," Kim tells WUWM.

Then will come the witnesses. Dorow read dozens of names Tuesday, almost all scheduled to testify for the prosecution.

The Waukesha trial may last most of this month.

Chuck Quirmbach joined WUWM in August 2018. He focuses his longform stories on health, innovation, science, technology, transportation, utilities and business.
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