A Wisconsin man convicted of killing six people and injuring dozens more when he drove through a Christmas parade near Milwaukee last year was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday at the conclusion of a two-day hearing.
Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Dorow handed down six mandatory life in a prison terms to Darrell Brooks, 40, who was found guilty on Oct. 26 of 76 criminal charges, including six counts of intentional homicide.
Brooks deliberately drove his sport utility vehicle through police barricades last November and plowed into crowds of people participating in the annual parade in Waukesha, about 15 miles (25 km) west of downtown Milwaukee.
“I want you to know that not only I am sorry for what happened, I am sorry that you cannot see what is truly in my heart and the remorse in my heart,” Brooks said as he wept during his statement in a packed courtroom.
The two-day sentencing hearing began on Tuesday when dozens of relatives of those killed and injured along with victims who survived the incident told the court about their loved ones and confronted Brooks, who wore orange prison clothing and a surgical mask over his nose and mouth.
“Today is our day. Today is for us. Today is so we can take our handful of dirt, throw it on his grave and move on,” said Chris Owen, whose mother Leanna Owen, 71, died in the attack.
Leanna Owen was performing with her troupe known as the Dancing Grannies when she was struck and killed. Five others, including an 8-year-old boy, were killed in the incident while more than 60 others were injured, including at least 18 children.
Before he was sentenced, Brooks, a Milwaukee resident who represented himself during the trial, called several people to speak to the court on his behalf.
His grandmother, Mary Edwards, a minister in Detroit, told the court that Brooks has suffered from bi-polar mental illness since he was 12 years old, and said the disorder caused him to drive through the crowd.