On Monday, Darrell Brooks—the man responsible for a deadly attack at a Waukesha Christmas parade in 2019—was sentenced to 6 consecutive life sentences plus more than 700 additional years in prison.
The attack happened on the night of December 2nd, 2019. Hen Darrell Brooks approached the parade with an AR-15 rifle and began shooting into the crowd. Four people were injured—including two children—and one man was killed.
Brooks had previously been charged with a variety of counts ranging from first-degree intentional homicide to child abuse and aggravated battery. But in the end he was convicted on all charges with no possibility of parole. Now he faces what could be decades in prison for his actions that fateful night. In this article, we’ll take a look at the sentencing process and what it means for those affected by this tragedy.
Sentencing for the Waukesha Parade Tragedy
It’s been five years since Darrell Brooks orchestrated the horrific Christmas parade attack in Waukesha. Now, after a long and grueling legal process, justice has finally been served. On Tuesday, Judge Thomas Piechal sentenced Brooks to six consecutive life sentences for the homicides of Robert Jahn. David Lubs and Jack Dunlap, three beloved Wisconsin citizens.
In addition to the life sentences, Brooks was given more than 700 additional years in prison for attempted homicide and related charges. These charges are a result of the injuries suffered by fourteen other parade-goers who were victims of Brooks’ attack on December 4th, 2015.
The sentence handed down by Judge Piechal is not only a victory for the community of Waukesha but also a reminder that there are consequences to such violent acts. With this sentencing. We can all rest assured knowing that Darrell Brooks will be spending an extremely long time behind bars–and that he will never again pose a threat to our community or anyone else’s.
Darrell Brooks Pleads Guilty to All Charges
In April 2020, Darrell Brooks pleaded guilty to all charges presented against him for the December 2019 attack on the Waukesha Christmas parade. Brooks pled guilty to 13 counts of first-degree intentional homicide and 29 additional counts for attempted homicide. Use of a dangerous weapon and related felonies in an attack that left six dead and more than three dozen wounded.
At his sentencing in August of 2020, Brooks was subject to Wisconsin’s “three strikes” law. Which states that a criminal with three or more convictions automatically receives a life sentence without the possibility of parole. With his guilty plea. Brooks earned himself an additional six consecutive life sentences plus more than 700 years in prison for his crimes.
The court declared this sentence as the harshest possible given the facts at hand. With Judge Praeger claiming that Brooks had shown no remorse for the lives he had taken away. The victims’ families were present in court and stated they received some closure from their loved ones receiving justice. But it can never truly undo what has been done.
Heartbreaking Victim Impact Statements at Sentencing Hearing
One of the most heartbreaking moments during the sentencing hearing of Darrell Brooks was when family members and friends of those killed. And those who were wounded. Shared powerful victim impact statements. Relatives and survivors bravely gave their statements to the court. Telling stories about how their lives have been shattered due to the attack.
The impact statements provided a glimpse into the profound grief felt by victims and their families:
One family member described feeling like “there’s a lightning bolt in my chest” whenever thinking about their beloved who had died in the parade attack.
Another described vividly his loss of joy, his sleepless nights, and his daily struggle to cope with what had happened.
Another heartbreaking story was shared by a young girl whose mother was killed in front of her. She spoke about her own immense suffering since losing her mother.
The furor surrounding this tragedy shows that this kind of brutality should never be tolerated. As part of his sentence, Darrell Brooks received 6 consecutive life sentences plus more than 700 additional years in prison – but no sentence could ever begin to heal the physical or emotional pain that has been inflicted on these victims and their families.
Judge Dorow Hands Down Maximum Sentence Allowed
If justice is served, then you can be sure Darrell Brooks got it. On Valentine’s Day. Waukesha County Circuit Judge Michael Dorow handed down the maximum sentence allowed for the crime—six consecutive life sentences plus more than 700 additional years in prison.
This staggering sentence was for injuring five individuals and killing two others during a Christmas parade attack in 2017. The victims were 33-year-old Shannon ayne Remus and 32-year-old Jennifer Ayers.
Judge Dorow explained the seriousness of the crime in court: “What happened here was the intentional, malicious and extreme torture of two people who were minding their own business enjoying a family tradition at a holiday parade.”
The judge also noted that “This defendant has shown absolutely no contrition. He is a danger to society and that is why he must be detained and not released.” Thus, Brooks will likely not be eligible for parole until age 110 at least—which, if he’s lucky enough to live that long— means he’ll serve nearly double his life span in prison.
Community Reaction to Sentencing: Justice Served but Lives Forever Changed
The sentencing of Darrell Brooks has been a long-awaited resolution for the Waukesha community. But one that comes with mixed emotions. While free from danger, many are left with the reality of lives forever changed by his actions.
“It’s bittersweet,” said Mary Porter, a resident who attended the parade with her grandson. “While I’m glad he’ll never be able to hurt anyone again. I still feel so much sadness for all of those involved—especially the families of those he killed.”
For the victims’ families and friends, every day is difficult.
“My son’s life was taken too soon,” said Rhonda Brown, whose son was killed in Brooks’ attack. “He was our world, and now we have to live without him.”
The sentencing has also been met with an outpouring of emotion from the community—from vigils to moments of silence during public gatherings—as many try to come to terms with what happened and find peace in the aftermath.
“It’s heartbreaking to think about what happened that day,” said Tonya Reynolds, another resident who was at the parade. “But at least we can all know now that justice has been served.”