Day 4 of the Waukesha Christmas Parade attack trial: Darrell Brooks removes his shirt, threatens to throw shoe before opening statements

WAUKESHA -- Waukesha County District Judge Jennifer Dorow had barely brought Day 4 of the 76-count Darrell Brooks Jr. criminal trial into session when Brooks launched a series of adjournments and protests.
All of this erupted when she tried to address why he chose to wear his bright orange prison garb, not the suit or other street attire he has access to.
After more than a dozen interruptions, he was again transferred to an adjacent courtroom.
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When he appeared on video from that courtroom 15 minutes later, his shirt was off and his back was to the camera. Dorow explained that he also took off a shoe and threatened to throw it.
In her findings, Dorow again explained the legal basis for his removal from the court.
She also warned that his conduct in his defense would come at his own peril if he continued the "mess" in front of the jury.
Opening statements have not started yet
Despite the plan to open statements to guide the trial Thursday, by midmorning neither party had even started them as a result of Brooks' exchange with Dorow.
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Waukesha District Attorney Sue Opper previously said it would take prosecutors five to seven days to present their case. It's unclear how long it would take Brooks to present his own defense.
Brooks, 40, faces 76 counts in connection with the Nov. 21, 2021 attack on the Waukesha Christmas Parade that killed six people and injured dozens more.
Darrell Brooks Jr. sits in another courtroom after being removed again Thursday for constantly interrupting Waukesha County District Judge Jennifer Dorow. At one point he took off his shirt and threw away his shoe.
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DA insists Brooks has authority to stand trial and act as his own attorney
Opper reiterated that she believed Brooks was competent and his behavior should be viewed as nothing more than a delaying tactic.
"At no point in this case did anyone have a competency issue," Opper said, noting professional and observational clues about his mental state, including monitored phone calls he made from prison that showed a clear mental state.
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"I am deeply convinced that he is 100 percent competent to go to court," she said. "We are 100% satisfied that his behavior is... intentional and intentional. ... He's trying to derail this process."
Dorow agreed, noting that four examiners in July and August who examined him on his insanity defense had raised no concerns about his legal competence.
"I share your observations," she said, including Opper's statements as part of her findings and concluding that his behavior was more about "defiance" than mental health.
Day 3 of Trial: The judge denies Brooks' motion to adjourn the trial over COVID-19 protocols
Day 2 of Trial: A jury was selected; Opening statements scheduled for Thursday
Day 1 of the trial: Defendant Darrell Brooks Jr. was repeatedly removed from the courtroom
Videos of victims and witnesses are allowed
Opper's request for review of her request to have videotaping of victims and witnesses denied was also addressed.
Opper noted that Brooks' behavior in court only added to her stress and that having their faces captured by cameras would compound her trauma, which likely increased as the trial progressed.
Brooks countered that Dorow's earlier decision on the issue in September should stand.
"Everything should be public. This is a public trial," Brooks said.
"This court has gone to considerable lengths to keep the victims' names private," Dorow said. "Also, I did everything I could to protect her privacy. ... The time has come for this process to be carried out.”
She noted that the names of the victims are now on file.
Acknowledging Opper's concerns about the stress it might cause for the witnesses, Dorow said the court had no choice. "I'm not unaware of the implications," she added.
The jury will receive preliminary instructions
The final agenda before the opening statements were presented were the preliminary directions that the jury must follow as the case progresses.
Some of the instructions were common and traditional, such as B. not to discuss the case with anyone or to expose oneself to media reports of the trial or previous coverage of the case.
But Dorow also listed all 76 counts: six counts of first-degree first-degree homicide using a dangerous weapon, 61 counts of reckless endangering of safety by use of a dangerous weapon, six counts of hit-and-run resulting in death and two counts of bail jumping, all felonies ; and two counts of domestic violence - battery, one of which was dismissed.
Each count included an explanation of what the jury needed to consider when hearing the case.
This story will be updated throughout the day.
Contact Jim Riccioli at (262) 446-6635 or james.riccioli@jrn.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jariccioli.
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This article originally appeared in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Darrell Brooks Jr Waukesha Christmas Parade Trial Takeaways from Day 4

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