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Judge to decide whether Wisconsin parade suspect will stand trial – NBC Chicago

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Judge to decide whether Wisconsin parade suspect will stand trial – NBC Chicago

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A judge is due to decide on Friday whether a Milwaukee man accused of plowing his SUV through a Christmas parade, killing six people and injuring dozens more, will stand trial for murder.

Darrell Brooks Jr. is scheduled to appear in Waukesha County Court before Judge Michael Bohren for a preliminary hearing. Such hearings, when the judge decides whether there is sufficient evidence to hold an accused on trial, are usually a formality but can shed light on defense and prosecution strategies.

According to the criminal complaint, Brooks drove his mother’s brown Ford Escape on the parade in downtown Waukesha on November 21. He continued despite police requests to stop, with some police telling investigators it appeared the driver was intentionally trying to hit people. and “citizen witnesses” telling detectives that the SUV never slowed down.

Some of the people he collided with flew onto the hood of the Escape; at one point, Brooks had to lean out of the driver’s window to steer because someone had landed on the windshield, according to the complaint.

Six people were killed and dozens more injured. District Attorney Susan Opper charged Brooks with six counts of first degree manslaughter a few days later. He could face life in prison if found guilty on one count. Opper added dozens more charges this week, including reckless endangerment, a hit and run causing death, bail and a battery.

The possible reasons remain unknown. Court documents filed on Wednesday allege that Brooks beat the mother of her child minutes before heading to the parade because she refused to release him on bail after being arrested for running over her with the same vehicle earlier in November.

Brooks had been arrested in neighboring Milwaukee County in this alleged earlier incident. He was released from prison on November 19, two days before the parade, after posting $ 1,000 bail.

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, a Democrat, sharply criticized his office in recommending that the bail be set so low for Brooks.

Chisholm told county officials in December that the COVID-19 pandemic had resulted in a backlog of cases in his office. An assessment of the risk that Brooks posed to the community was never integrated into his office computer system and was not seen, Chisholm said, and an overworked young deputy prosecutor recommended him $ 1,000 bail in order. that she can move on to other business.

A Milwaukee County taxpayer group lodged a complaint with Governor Tony Evers in December, demanding that he remove Chisholm from office. A lawyer hired by the Evers administration to review the complaint concluded on Tuesday that the complaint suffers from technical and legal loopholes and is invalid. Evers refused to take action against Chisholm, a fellow Democrat.

Chisholm has been pushing to end the cash bond, saying it’s not fair to poor defendants. He wants a new system in which only violent offenders are jailed until their trial.

The Brooks case prompted Republican lawmakers to introduce bills that would require a minimum bond of $ 10,000 for people who have already committed a felony or violent misdemeanor. They would also require the Wisconsin Department of Justice to create a “transparency of obligations report” detailing felony and bail terms.

Evers and Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul have said they will support stricter bail policies.

Bohren is no stranger to high-profile affairs. He has presided over a case against two Waukesha girls accused of stabbing their classmate in 2014 to please a fictional horror character, Slender Man.

Judge to decide whether Wisconsin parade suspect will stand trial – NBC Chicago

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