Waukesha suspect intimidated a witness from jail weeks before deadly rampage, prosecutor says
Darrell Brooks was in custody at the time for allegedly running his ex-girlfriend over with his red Ford Explorer
WAUKESHA, Wisc. – Waukesha parade suspect Darrell Brooks tried to intimidate a witness from jail after he was locked up for running over the mother of one of his children with his red SUV, prosecutors said Tuesday during a hearing in a case unrelated to the deadly attack on holiday revelers.
Brooks joined a video conference call in Milwaukee County Circuit Court by phone Tuesday from the Waukesha County Jail, where he's being held on $5 million bond for the Nov. 21 Christmas parade rampage that killed six people.
Prosecutor Mathew Torbenson said the state wanted to address Brooks' bail conditions on the Nov. 2 domestic abuse case for which he was released on $1,000 cash bail, leaving him free to allegedly plow his red Ford Escape into parade goers three weeks later.
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"The state has uncovered some intimidation that took place while the defendant was in jail at the Milwaukee County Jail in regard to the underlying domestic violence case," the prosecutor said during the brief hearing. He did not specify whether Brooks had tried to intimidate his ex-girlfriend or another witness.
The Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office came under fire for recommending the low $1,000 cash bail amount that left Brooks free to use the same SUV to injure more than 60 parade goers. DA John Chisholm said his office had launched an internal investigation over the decision.
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The proceeding Tuesday related to two felony cases Brooks racked up prior to the Waukesha rampage, which is being handled by a different court. Attorney Joseph Domask requested the hearing so he could withdraw as the lawyer on both matters, citing numerous relationships with people affected by the parade attack.
Torbenson told the court that the state would make a full argument about the intimidation allegations at Brooks' next court date Dec. 20 when he is assigned a new attorney.
The domestic violence case stems from a Nov. 2 incident in which Brooks allegedly assaulted his ex-girlfriend then ran her over with a red Ford Escape, leaving tire marks on her left leg.
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He showed up at her motel, the American Inn, and allegedly banged on her door and yelled at her. She told police that she tried to walk past him, and he snatched her phone from her hand, then hopped in his car and drove off, the criminal complaint alleges.
As the woman walked from the hotel to a BP gas station, Brooks pulled up beside her and demanded she get in his car, the court papers say.
The victim refused and he allegedly "struck [her] in the face with a closed fist," the complaint says. "Brooks then, intentionally and without consent, ran [the victim] over with his vehicle while [she] was walking through the parking lot of the BP gas station," the papers allege.
Brooks is accused of beating up the same woman five months earlier in Union City, Georgia. He was arrested on battery charges in that incident.
The second pending felony case in Milwaukee stems from a fight Brooks had with his nephew July 24, 2020, over a cellphone. After the pair scuffled, Brooks allegedly opened fire on the relative, who was not injured, the complaint says.
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Brooks, a career criminal with dozens of arrests stretching back to 1999, faces six counts of intentional homicide and other charges for the deadly parade ambush. An officer who tried to stop him said that he looked "directly at him, and it appeared he had no emotion on his face," according to the criminal complaint.