A judge sentenced Darrell Brooks, who was found guilty of six counts of intentional first-degree murder, to six consecutive life sentences for plowing into a Christmas parade in Waukesha County, Wis., last November. File Photo courtesy of Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office/EPA-EFE
Nov. 16 (UPI) -- A judge sentenced Darrell Brooks to six consecutive life sentences Wednesday for intentionally driving his SUV into a Christmas parade in Waukesha County, Wis., last November, killing six people and injuring 61 others.
During his sentencing, Brooks, who was found guilty last month of six counts of intentional first-degree murder, had to be removed twice from the courtroom for disrupting the proceedings. More than three dozen victims and family representatives spoke or had written statements read in front of the court by the end of the day Tuesday.
"This community can only be safe if you are behind bars for the rest of your life," Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Dorow said Wednesday as she announced the six life sentences, which will be served consecutively.
"This trial is unlike anything that I've ever been a part of," Dorow said during a 2-hour statement. "The sheer magnitude of the crime, the number of people impacted. The vicious, senseless nature of it."
The judge also criticized Brooks' "feeble attempt to blame mental health."
"I waited for a true apology. I didn't get it. Not for my benefit, but for the victims," Dorow added.
Brooks, 40, was sentenced to 17.5 years for each of the 60 reckless endangerment counts, which totals 762.5 years of initial confinement, plus 305 years of extended supervision on top of the six life sentences. Dorow called the sentencing "largely symbolic."
"It needs to hold you accountable in a very real and tangible way," the judge told Brooks.
A jury took a few hours to deliver a guilty verdict last month, convicting Brooks of 76 counts in total, including 61 counts of recklessly endangering safety, six counts of first-degree intentional homicide, six counts of hit-and-run causing death, two counts of federal bail jumping and one count of battery.
Brooks represented himself during the trial.
"Not only am I sorry for what happened, I'm sorry that you could not see what is truly in my heart," Brooks told Dorow.
"With respect to how I'm viewed, I will not respond to those comments in anger either. I want to also say that, it is not me that can take any pain away, replace what was lost, give back joy, happiness -- so many other things lost that day."
"Do you have any idea of gut wrenching it is to have to explain your 12-year-old son that his little brother isn't going to make it, his injuries are too extensive for his little body to come back from and that he won't be coming home with us ever again," Sherry Sparks told the court, during the trial, before Brooks had an opportunity to speak.
Sparks' son Jackson was killed while her other son, Tucker, was badly injured.
"This morning, I should have spent the morning making breakfast, taking him to school, hearing about his day later and instead I'm standing here in this courtroom asking for justice for my boys. We came so close to losing both of them that day. I miss Jackson every second of every single day. I feel gutted and broken, it hurts to breathe sometimes. It hurts to live without him here."