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Accused Waukesha Christmas parade killer questions victims while defending himself in trial

<i>Mike De Sisti/AP</i><br/>Darrell Brooks looks through files during the his trial in Waukesha County Circuit Court in Waukesha
Mike De Sisti/AP
Darrell Brooks looks through files during the his trial in Waukesha County Circuit Court in Waukesha

Bill Kirkos, CNN

Accused Christmas parade attack killer Darrell Brooks on Monday began to cross-examine some of the victims prosecutors say he rammed and ran over with his SUV as he drove through the crowd last November in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Victim Nicole White testified she sustained injuries to her spine and tailbone and suffered ligament damage to her right knee as the SUV hit her. Prosecutors say White was the first person to be struck by Brooks.

“I just remember being struck by the vehicle from behind on my back and then I fell to my knees and kind of rolled under the vehicle,” White said.

Authorities say Brooks drove an SUV into a crowd of people celebrating the city’s Christmas parade on November 21, killing six people and wounding dozens more. He is charged with six counts of intentional homicide with the use of a dangerous weapon, and more than 60 counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety and six counts of fatal hit and run.

In Monday’s proceeding, Brooks, who is representing himself, asked each parade victim or witness if they were able to read the license plate of the car that had just hit either them or others or if they heard the vehicle blow its horn.

Brooks objected to the publishing of all videos the prosecution played for witnesses showing the attack as it happened. Waukesha County Judge Jennifer Dorow overruled the objections.

Kyle Jewell was a spectator at the parade and tried unsuccessfully to catch up to the SUV in an effort to stop it.

“The band had just passed us, a red SUV…going maybe 30, 40 miles per hour, just went straight over the Waukesha South (high school) band, and it’s not like it stopped, it went over…it looked like it went in the air, like over a pretty big object, and it was just like a big old speed bump and kept going,” Jewell testified.

It was the third day of testimony which began with Brooks issuing an apology to the court for his conduct in the courtroom last week. Dorow had deputies remove Brooks from the courtroom several times last week and placed him in a nearby courtroom where he communicated via a monitor and microphone, at times muted due to his repeated outbursts.

“I would like to issue the court an apology from me in regards to my actions last week during the trial. I just want the court to understand it’s very emotional right now,” he said.

However, within minutes Brooks began displaying much of the same behavior he has shown throughout the trial, speaking over prosecutors when they would object, repeating vague questions and repeatedly declaring Darrell Brooks is not his name.

“I do not identify by that name nor do I recognize it,” Brooks repeatedly said.

Under cross-examination by Brooks, Waukesha police Det. Thomas Casey testified that the SUV was likely traveling around 5 miles per hour when it passed him as Casey tried to stop it.

“Would it be fair to say that 3 to 5 miles an hour is not very fast?” Brooks asked Casey.

“I think it’s very fast when you were in a parade route when there’s hundreds of people marching in the road and a police officer is standing in front of your car pounding on the hood trying to get the vehicle to stop. I’d say that that’s too fast,” Casey said.

“Any speed is too fast on a parade route when you have all those people in the roadway. A car should not have been there.”

“Thanks for the commentary,” Brooks sarcastically responded.

Brooks also again continuously questioned the court’s jurisdiction in the case, asking Dorow to discuss “subject matter jurisdiction.”

Dorow repeatedly said she has already ruled on the matter and will take the issue under advisement.

Brooks previously pleaded not guilty by insanity, but his public defenders withdrew the insanity plea in September. The attorneys later filed a motion to withdraw from the case, and the judge ruled to allow Brooks to represent himself at trial.

Testimony is expected to resume Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. CT.

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