Accused Waukesha killer Darrell Brooks takes off shirt, closes eyes while victims' names read aloud
Darrell Brooks faces life in prison if convicted of killing 6 six at a November 2021 Christmas parade
Accused Waukesha, Wisconsin, parade killer Darrell Brooks took off his shirt during his Thursday trial and closed his eyes as the judge read his charges and victims' names aloud.
Waukesha Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Dorow removed Brooks from the court on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for his frequent interruptions after he chose to defend himself rather than get public counsel.
On Thursday, the defendant took off his shirt during proceedings before putting it back on and tucking a sign that read, "Objection," into his pants.
Prosecutors said Brooks was "attempting to derail these proceedings and avoid the inevitable." Dorow similarly said the defendant was trying to "make a mockery of" the legal process and intentionally "create chaos."
ACCUSED WAUKESHA PARADE KILLER DARRELL BROOKS ‘AFRAID AS HELL’ OF CONTRACTING COVID, REQUESTS ADJOURNMENT
Later on, Brooks closed his eyes and removed a pair of headphones as the judge read his 76 counts aloud, along with the names of victims killed in the November 2021 attack. He is facing life in prison for the holiday massacre that killed Jackson Sparks, 8; Virginia Sorenson, 79; LeAnna Owen, 71; Tamara Durand, 52; Jane Kulich, 52; and Wilhelm Hospel, 81, when he allegedly ran them over with his vehicle during the Christmas parade.
WAUKESHA PARADE MURDER TRIAL: JUDGE ORDERS ERRATIC DEFENDANT DARRELL BROOKS REMOVED FROM THE COURTROOM AGAIN
Brooks attempted to adjourn his pretrial hearing on Wednesday, citing concerns about having COVID-19. The defendant told Dorow that he was "afraid as hell" of contracting the virus since he started feeling fatigue and losing his sense of taste in prison.
Tom Grieve, criminal defense lawyer at Grieve Law, a Milwaukee-based firm, told Fox News Digital that he is not surprised Brooks chose to represent himself because the defendant is "facing a mountain of evidence" after he drove his vehicle into a crowd of parade-goers last year and will likely face a significant sentence even if he is only convicted of a few of his 76 charges.
WAUKESHA ACCUSED CHRISTMAS PARADE KILLER DARRELL BROOKS SQUABBLES WITH JUDGE, WANTS TO REPRESENT HIMSELF
"Removing a defendant in any criminal case from a courtroom is no decision that a judge wants to make. It’s a decision that a judge has to feel forced to make," Grieve said when asked why Dorow has allowed Brooks to remain in court for hours on each day of his trial so far this week., Grieve said he believes Brooks made Dorow feel "forced" to remove the defendant from the courtroom on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
The judge has to allow a "record to develop" in Brooks' case before she decides to remove him from court so that at any point, if she does decide to excuse him, she has significant reasoning to back up her decision, Grieve explained. She must continue to give Brooks a chance to participate and represent himself, despite his disruptions so far, in case he suddenly "decides to change course."
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
"Everybody's entitled to a fair trial, both victim and defense," Grieve said. "If Brooks decides to participate, he has a right to do so, and the judge is affording him any opportunity to get that right, but not at the expense of the victims or taxpayers."
Brooks "can’t put the whole system on trial" because "he’s the one on trial," the criminal defense lawyer explained, adding: "No amount of game play and lying is going to get him out."
Fox News' Rebecca Rosenberg contributed to this report.