Darrell Brooks Jr. stands trial starting Monday for the Waukesha Christmas Parade attack that left six people dead and dozens injured.
Brooks is facing more than 70 criminal charges: six counts of first-degree intentional homicide with use of a dangerous weapon, 61 counts of recklessly endangering safety with use of a dangerous weapon, six counts of hit-and-run involving death and two counts of bail jumping, all felonies; and two counts of misdemeanor domestic abuse-battery.
He will represent himself. Here's what happened on Day 1 of the trial, which begins with jury selection.
Brooks was removed repeatedly from the courtroom
After repeated disruptions, Waukesha County Circuit Judge Jennifer Dorow removed Brooks from the courtroom, three times in the morning and again in the afternoon.
Brooks was removed for a second time after Dorow told him he was continuing to be disruptive, something he had previously been warned about. In all, Dorow called six breaks in the proceedings between 8:30 a.m. and noon, not counting the two instances where Brooks had to be removed.
"If your intention is to disrupt these proceedings ... or make a mockery of this court, I cannot tolerate that," Dorow told Brooks during a spate of interruptions.
"I cannot see how my conduct is disruptive," Brooks said.
Dorow told Brooks if the interruptions continued, she would appoint an attorney for him to keep the trial on track. The trial is scheduled to run from Oct. 3-28.
After the lunch break, with Brooks again moved to the neighboring courtroom because of continued disruptions, Dorow voiced her findings, specifying the 1970 U.S. Supreme Court case law, Illinois v. Allen, that established the legality of removing him until he agreed to act in accordance with the standards of dignity, respect and decorum the proceedings require.
"The conduct of Mr. Allen pales in comparison to Mr. Brooks," Dorow said.
Jury selection has finally begun and could take days to complete
The process of jury selection, sometimes called voir dire, which includes hundreds of potential jurors, began about 2 p.m. Monday as a result of the near-constant interruptions from Brooks.
Dorow said before the trial the jury selection process could last one day or several, but it's unclear if that timeline still holds. A total of 315 jurors are available for selection.
By the end of the day Monday, however, the court had only interviewed 41 jurors, with 64 jurors from the initial 105-person allotment still waiting in the wings. Those jurors will now be interviewed Tuesday morning, and the remaining 34 jurors who weren't struck for cause will return at 1 p.m..
The hope is to fill a jury panel of 16 (including four alternate jurors) from that Day 1 pool. The second group of 105 jurors was pushed until Wednesday.
By extension, if all 315 potential jurors were to be interviewed, the process would now continue into Thursday.
Who was struck for cause and why
Among the jurors who were already told prior to Tuesday that they are dismissed was a mix that included some with close connections to the incident.
One woman, a nurse at ProHealth Waukesha Memorial Hospital, told Dorow that she initially thought she could set aside her experiences. She was among those treating victims from the parade on Nov. 21.)"But now ...," she said, her voice breaking and trailing off.
Another said his wife also worked at the hospital, but was dismissed as the injured arrived. The reason for her dismissal wasn't immediately clear.
In the end, the Waukesha County District Attorney's Office concurred with all the strikes for cause Brooks listed.
However, neither Dorow nor prosecutors addressed Brooks' broader motion.
"I just want to strike them all," Brooks said.
Dorow said she would take his motion under advisement and announce her decision Tuesday morning.
Trial phase will follow afterward
Waukesha County District Attorney Sue Opper previously said she anticipates prosecutors will take between five and seven business days to present their case. There has been no indication about how long it could take Brooks to argue his defense.
Prior to Brooks' decision to waive his right to an attorney , it appeared the trial would not require the full four weeks. But experts say that if Brooks is allowed to represent himself, it could slow down the process.
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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Takeaways from Day 1 of Darrell Brooks Waukesha Christmas Parade trial