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Man charged with 5 counts of homicide in parade crash


By Scott Bauer | Associated Press

Prosecutors in Wisconsin have charged a man with intentional homicide in the deaths of five people who were killed when an SUV was driven into a Christmas parade.

Darrell Brooks Jr. was charged with five counts of intentional homicide in the crash Sunday in Waukesha, a Milwaukee suburb. Conviction on first-degree intentional homicide carries a mandatory life sentence.

He made his initial appearance in court Tuesday.

The city’s livestream video and bystander video captured the chaotic scene when an SUV sped along the parade route and then into the crowd. Authorities say 62 people were injured, including many children. Several remain in critical condition.

Brooks had been free on $1,000 bail for a case in Milwaukee County earlier in November in which he’s accused of intentionally striking a woman with his car. Prosecutors said they’re investigating their bail recommendation in that case, calling it inappropriately low.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

The suspect in a Christmas parade crash in suburban Milwaukee that killed five people was due in court Tuesday where five homicide charges were expected to be filed, a crime that can carry the stiffest penalty possible under Wisconsin law — mandatory life in prison.

Other lesser charges were also expected to be filed against Darrell Brooks Jr. related to the roughly 50 additional people who were injured when an SUV barreled through the parade route at a high speed, sending people flying through the air.

Brooks was free on $1,000 bail posted just two days before the deadly event, a fact that is leading to a review of what happened and renewed calls for giving judges more power to set higher bails.

One pending case against Brooks included an allegation that he deliberately hit a woman with his car in early November after a fight. Prosecutors in Milwaukee County on Monday called their bail recommendation “inappropriately low” given the facts of that case and the Sunday crash, and said they would review it.

Julius Kim, a defense attorney and former assistant prosecutor, said the bail could easily have been set more than twice as high.

“He was accused of running over the mother of his kid, and to put it at $1,000 strikes me as low,” Kim said. “It could have been an inexperienced attorney who happened to be reviewing cases that day.”

Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson said Brooks, 39, was leaving the scene of a domestic dispute that had taken place just minutes earlier when he drove into the parade route.

Brooks has been charged with crimes more than a dozen times since 1999 and had two outstanding cases against him at the time of the parade disaster. That included resisting or obstructing an officer, reckless endangering, disorderly conduct, bail jumping and battery for the Nov. 2 incident.

Legal experts cautioned that one extreme case should not be a reason to push for higher bail amounts that would keep poorer defendants behind bars longer while they await trial.

“We don’t want to have a kneejerk reaction …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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