‘There should be no bail’: Fury at judge for setting $5M bond for Xmas parade ‘killer’
Anger mounted Tuesday after bail for a man accused of killing six and injuring 62 others by plowing his SUV into them at a Christmas parade in Wisconsin was set at $5 million – despite him having already been free on bail from a previous crime at the time of Sunday’s carnage.
Darrell Brooks Jr., 39, was free on a $1,000 bail when he careened into the parade crowd in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
On Tuesday – as it was learned a sixth victim, 8-year-old Jackson Sparks, had died of his injuries – bail was once again set for Brooks. Judge Kevin Costello said the sum was ‘extraordinarily high’ for the ‘indigent’ Brooks, but critics pointed out that there was nothing to prevent someone from volunteering to pay the $5 million fee or crowdsource the cash. That’s what happened with Kyle Rittenhouse, who was on Friday acquitted of murder in August 2020 shootings in Kenosha, Wisconsin, whose bail had been set at $2 million but his supporters crowdfunded the cash.
SIXTH VICTIM: Jackson Sparks, 8, died of his injuries in the hospital, it was learned Tuesday
It was unclear why the judge did not simply deny Brooks bail, given the suspect’s 22-year criminal history and multiple failures to previously show up in court.
Brooks was being held in custody on Tuesday night and will be held until his next court appearance in January, unless he makes bail.
‘I think Darrell Brooks will post bail,’ tweeted one critic. ‘It’s $5 million. There are those in our country who probably think he did a great service to mankind, and can pay to get him out. They’ll do it.’
Another added: ‘I do agree with you and it makes me furious. $5M toooo low. Should be NO BAIL AT ALL. Court will be adding a 6th charge in a day or two. Jackson Sparks, an 8-year-old boy who was marching in the Waukesha Christmas Parade with his baseball team, has died from his injuries.’
Another critic said: ‘Waukesha parade suspect Darrell Brooks facing 5 counts of 1st-degree intentional homicide, held on $5M bail.
‘THAT is even DUMBER than the LOW bail that got him out to begin with.
‘HE CANT HAVE ANY BAIL!! BAIL DENIED!! WTF is WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?’
In court on Tuesday Brooks was consoled by the public defender as he sobbed in court, with the court-appointed legal expert raising eyebrows by rubbing Brooks’ back and attempting to comfort him.
Dressed in a green sleeveless bulletproof vest, he was seen rocking back and forth in his chair during the hearing, staring at the floor throughout.
At one point he appeared to weep as the judge detailed his lengthy criminal record.
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Darrell Brooks Jr., 39, the driver of the SUV that crashed into the crowd Sunday, made his first appearance in court Tuesday
Brooks, dressed in a green sleeveless bulletproof vest, was seen rocking back and forth in his chair during the hearing, staring at the floor throughout
Darrell Brooks, 39, is ushered into court in Wisconsin on Tuesday for his bail hearing
Brooks is seen sitting to the right of the courtroom, wearing a white mask and green vest
Critics of the current cash bail system demanded that the process be reassessed.
‘Unless leaders of this country do something to fix the broken system, I am deeply concerned that we will see the horrors like this weekend in Wisconsin continue to play out,’ said Tulsi Gabbard, former presidential candidate and former congresswoman for Hawaii.
‘There doesn’t seem to be an actual plan. It sounds all warm and fuzzy.
‘Wait until someone comes to threaten their families.’
She condemned the ‘irresponsible and dangerous leadership’.
Brooks was freed two days before the attack by the Milwaukee district attorney, in what they admitted was a terrible mistake.
The shamefaced Milwaukee District Attorney’s Office admitted on Monday it was ‘inappropriate’ for convicted felon Darrell Brooks to be allowed out of jail on a $1,000 bond three weeks ago after trying to run over his ex-girlfriend, as he was charged with five counts of murder for the lives he took at the Waukesha Christmas Parade on Sunday night
Brooks’ November 2 criminal complaint reveals he was accused of hunting down the mother of his child, a woman referred to in charging documents as EAP, and running her over while she was walking through a gas station after an argument
Between July 2020 and February 2021, Brooks was in custody awaiting a trial date on a $7,500 bond for shooting at his nephew after a fight over his old cell phone.
The bond was dropped to $500 in February because the courts couldn’t give him a trial quickly enough.
He was arrested again on November 2 in Milwaukee for hunting down the mother of one of his children at a hotel, then following her in the street with his SUV and running her over in the parking lot of a gas station after she refused to get in his car.
DailyMail.com obtained copies of his arrest warrant for that incident on Monday which reveal he followed her to a gas station, punched her ‘with a closed fist’ and then ‘ran her over.’
He was arrested and charged with five counts including bail jumping, for having failed to meet the terms of one of his many other sets of bail or probation requirements.
But on November 11, he posted a $1,000 cash bond.
By November 19, he was on the streets again and by November 21, behind the wheel of his Ford again.
After Sunday night’s massacre, Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office issued a statement conceding the bail that was set was ‘inappropriately low.’
Brooks has officially been charged with five counts of first-degree intentional homicide, according to the Waukesha County District Attorney’s Office.
But during his court hearing on Tuesday, prosecutors said a sixth victim, a child, has also died. Family members identified him as Jackson Sparks.
Prosecutors said they will consider a sixth homicide charge due to the little boy’s death.
The court heard Tuesday that Brooks had multiple previous violent convictions, a 22-year criminal history, charges against him filed in three states and lengthy custody time in Georgia.
He had repeatedly failed to show up for court hearings, and a $5 million cash bail was suggested for Brooks – whom the court heard was insolvent.
Judge Kevin Costello granted the district attorney’s request for the $5 million bail, saying the unusually high amount was warranted due to the nature of the alleged crimes and Brooks’ ‘extraordinary’ history of breaking the law and ignoring court orders.
‘I have not seen anything like this in my very long career,’ Costello said.
Five days before Brooks allegedly drove his red Ford Escape into a Christmas parade in the suburban Milwaukee city of Waukesha, he was released from police custody after posting bail in another case in which he was accused of running his car over a woman.
Just minutes before Sunday’s parade, Brooks got into a dispute with his ex-girlfriend, who neighbors said had to flee her home barefoot and with a black eye to escape him.
The criminal complaint against Brooks, released on Tuesday, accused him of deliberately targeting people.
Detective Thomas Casey stated in the criminal complaint that he was on traffic duty at the parade, and stood in front of Brooks’s Ford Escape along the route.
He said that he pounded on the hood of the vehicle as it came to a halt, and yelled: ‘Stop’.
Darrell Brooks, 39, is pictured in his November 16 booking photo, provided by Waukesha County Sheriffs Office
Brooks ignored him, swerved past and continued driving.
Casey chased the vehicle and ‘observed the vehicle begin to drive faster,’ according to the complaint.
Casey radioed to alert other officers, ‘and a few seconds later heard on the police radio that the vehicle was striking people and was continuing westbound on East Main Street.’
Casey noted that Brooks hit parade participants and spectators.
He said three people died on the scene, and two later in hospital.
Officer Bryce Butryn, another traffic officer on the scene, said in the complaint that he also tried to get Brooks to stop, yelling at him and waving his hands.
Butryn estimated that Brooks was driving around 25mph.
‘Officer Butryn observed the driver looking straight ahead, directly at him, and it appeared he had no emotion on his face,’ the complaint states.
Butryn said that, as Brooks got closer to the parade, ‘speed was increasing’.
‘At this point, it was clear to Officer Butryn that this was an intentional act to strike and hurt as many people as possible.
‘He observed the vehicle appeared to be intentionally moving side to side, striking multiple people, and bodies and objects were flying from the area of the vehicle.’
Butryn ran after the vehicle, and people were begging him for help but he told them if the injured person was breathing, wait with them as ambulances were on the way.
A third officer, Bryce Scholten, shot at the vehicle three times.
The incident comes just two days after Kyle Rittenhouse, the accused Kenosha shooter, was acquitted of murder charges in the deaths of two men during the unrest that erupted last year in the wake of a police shooting of a black man. Kenosha is located about 55 miles south of Waukesha. There is no indication yet that the two are connected
Terrifying video posted to social media shows a speeding red SUV collide into a group of people marching in the middle of the street during the annual holiday parade in Waukesha, some 20 miles west of downtown Milwaukee
Eyewitnesses confirmed to officers that the vehicle appeared to be intentionally hitting people.
‘As I continued to watch the SUV, it continued to drive in a zig zag motion,’ said one witness.
‘It was like the SUV was trying to avoid vehicles, not people.
‘There was no attempt made by the vehicle to slow down, much less stop.’
A second eyewitness said he thought it was ‘a direct intent to hit as many parade participants’.
Five of the victims have been identified as Virginia Sorenson, 79; LeAnna Owen, 71; Jane Kulich, 52; Wilhelm Hospel, 81; and Tamara Durand, 52.
Thirteen children are still in the hospital, including six in critical condition, three in fair condition and four in good condition, WISN12 News reported.
On Tuesday a local man revealed he had welcomed Brooks into his home after the incident, giving him warm clothes and something to eat after Brooks knocked on his door.
Daniel Rider told CBS News that his mother had told him about a church sermon she listened to, urging people to help the homeless, and so when Brooks turned up at his home he ushered him in – unaware of what had just happened.
Rider said he was sitting in his living room watching the Dallas Cowboys play the Kansas City Chiefs when Brooks asked for help.
‘So I was like, ‘Oh! This was my chance to help somebody. I’m going to warm him up and give him some food,” Rider told CBS.
Brooks had parked his red SUV close to Rider’s home.
Rider said Brooks looked thin and cold, so he lent Brooks his jacket and phone and made him a sandwich.
Brooks sat on his couch the entire time, he said, and made several phone calls to his mother while waiting for an Uber to pick him up.
‘He was so polite. He was nice to me. He listened to everything I told him to do,’ Rider said.
‘Now, knowing what he just did moments before that, it’s hard to even wrap your head around.’
Brooks even asked him if he knew what was going on downtown.
The Christmas parade began on Sunday at 4pm, with participants starting at Main St. and Whiterock Ave. It was always intended to be a short parade, ending half a mile away at the northeast corner of Cutler Park. At 4.39pm, the red SUV is filmed speeding down Main Street. It smashed into the crowd, and sent bodies flying, before carrying on down towards the end of the parade, where the car broke through barriers. The SUV was found less than five blocks away and the driver was taken into custody but it’s unclear exactly where
Brooks is shown in this still taken from a video of the incident on Sunday. His motive remains unclear but the incident happened two days after he got out of jail on battery charges
‘I had no idea anything was happening,’ Rider said.
‘I was like, ‘There’s a parade today.’
‘And he was like, ‘Oh, that’s probably the parade.’ So he was just completely putting on a face and lying about everything,’ Rider said.
About 10 minutes after Brooks arrived, Rider said he started ‘getting real nervous’ because a police car was driving up and down the street.
He asked Brooks to leave, and Brooks was arrested shortly after, and Rider said the Uber arrived about a minute after he was put in handcuffs.
Brooks’ hearing came as friends and families of the dozens of people, including many children, hit by an SUV that sped through a Christmas parade in a suburban Milwaukee downtown area Sunday say they suffered life-threatening injuries, with some clinging to life.
Eight-year-old Jackson Sparks died of his injuries in the hospital, it emerged on Tuesday.
His brother Tucker, 12, remains hospitalized with a fractured skull.
‘Tucker, by the grace of God is miraculously recovering from his injuries and will be being discharged home,’ the family said on a GoFundMe page.
Tucker Sparks, 12 (above), is pictured with his younger brother Jackson, aged eight, whose death was confirmed on Tuesday. Jackson is the youngest of the six victims from the Christmas parade tragedy
Jackson Sparks (right), aged eight, and his 12-year-old brother Tucker (left) were both injured by Brooks’s car, with the impact killing Jackson
Tucker (left) suffered a fractured skull and Jackson suffered severe head injuries in the tragedy
The boys’ cousin, Alyssa, said that Jackson (left) underwent brain surgery on Sunday evening, but did not make it
Aaron and Sheri Sparks are pictured with their sons Tucker, 12, and Jackson, eight. Their youngest son was killed in the Christmas parade tragedy
Five dancers who were injured during the incident remain in the ICU, according to a statement by the Waukesha Xtreme Dance Team.
‘Our dancers have a multitude of serious physical injuries, of those, five dancers are currently in the ICU,’ the team posted in a statement on its Facebook page.
A young girl who is a member of a dance troupe struck by the SUV – a moment that was captured on cellphone video – woke up Monday and told doctors, ‘just glue me back together,’ according to her GoFundMe page organized by a family friend.
‘No child or parent should have to endure this amount pain and suffering,’ the girl’s mother, Amber Konhke, posted Tuesday afternoon.
The fundraising pleas detail the extent of some of the injuries from the incident that has left six dead so far and 62 others injured.
Konhke’s daughter Jessalyn is shown smiling directly at the camera on one GoFundMe page, wearing a white Santa hat and holding matching pompoms.
She is standing alongside other girls on the Waukesha Xtreme Dance team in a picture taken moments before she was struck.
Jessalyn is ‘fighting for her life,’ according to the fundraising account established by family friend Oscar Luna.
She lost a kidney, broke her pelvis and has damage to her liver and lungs, Luna said.
Items lie in the middle of a street in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on Monday, where investigations continue after a vehicle slammed into a holiday parade the day before, killing several people and injuring multiple others
A broken children’s stroller lays on W. Main St. in downtown Waukesha
Police tape blocks off a street in Waukesha, Wisconsin on Monday
‘This holiday season will be a brutal one for them,’ he said of their family.
In an update posted Tuesday morning, Luna wrote that she had woken up briefly Monday.
‘She is not fully aware of the severity of her injuries but managed to say, `just glue me back together,´’ he wrote.
‘Only a child could reference themselves as a little doll in this situation.’
Julia, who was also marching with her dance team and whose last name also isn’t given, ‘is in the fight for her life,’ suffering from brain trauma after being hit, her fundraising page established by family friend Jen McCarthy says.
‘Everyone that knows this little girl knows what joy she brings to the world,’ the post says. ‘She has a heart of gold, a smile that can light up the room and is loved by so many.’
The Sparks brothers were among three sets of siblings hospitalized after being struck by the SUV, and they remain at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, according to an online fundraiser organized by a cousin.
Tucker, 12, has head injuries but is recovering, but Jackson, 8, suffered a more serious brain injury.
‘The entire family is devastated,’ said Alyssa Albro, the niece of the boys’ parents, Aaron and Sheri Sparks.
Aidan Laughrin, a senior at Waukesha South High School, was hit while performing with the marching band, suffering fractured ribs, according to an online fundraiser.
The family is ‘tough but the road ahead is going to be tough too, both physically and emotionally,’ the organizer posted.
Children and the elderly were among those mowed down as the speeding SUV hit crowds of people in Waukesha, Wisconsin
Jordan Woynilko, who filmed the video above, described walking out of a pub along the parade route into a scene of despair and desperation as people tried to help those wounded by the speeding driver
Debris from the crash is seen in Waukesha on Sunday
A family’s chairs lie discarded on the side of the parade route on Monday morning
A person walks past a police car blocking Main Street the morning after a car ploughed through a holiday parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, U.S., November 22, 2021
Police officers document marked evidence on Main Street the morning after a car plowed through a holiday parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, U.S., November 22, 2021
Another band member, saxophonist Tyler Pudleiner, also was struck and has undergone two surgeries since Sunday.
‘He has a long road to recovery,’ wrote Joane Chmiel, one of two people raising money to help Pudleiner.
Tamara Rosentreter was doing what she loved, entertaining the crowd as part of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies, when she was struck by the SUV that took the lives of three of her fellow dancers.
The mother of four and grandmother of one was the leader of the troupe, according to an online fundraiser seeking help for Rosenstreter’s recovery.
The organizer posted a message from Rosenstreter, who said ‘I’m still here. Lots of pain, stitches, broken bones and lots of bumps and bruises. Love you ALL.’
She described how a woman prayed for her at the scene ‘to help give me peace and comfort’ and how another kept her warm with a blanket.
‘This tragedy is so hard to wrap my head around,’ she said, saying her ‘heart aches’ for the victims and their families, those who witnessed the devastation and ‘for my teammates and their families who are my family.’
Lucero Isabel Perales says several family members were a part of the parade and were struck by the SUV.
That includes a cousin with skull fractures who is in a coma, an uncle who underwent six hours of surgery for a broken leg and another cousin with bruises all over her body.
‘This is a very hard time for all of us, it was something so unexpected,’ Isabel Perales wrote.
More than $787,000 had been raised by Tuesday afternoon for the 18 GoFundMe-verified pages for parade victims.
Another community fund for victims had raised more than $600,000 by Tuesday morning, said Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly.
The Waukesha County Community Foundation said that fund had grown to more than $916,000 by Tuesday afternoon.
‘There’s so much outpouring of support,’ Reilly said.
‘It warms your heart to know that people are saying, ‘We support your community, we feel for you.”