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Day 15: The defense implodes as Brooks threatens, intimidates, and accuses the court of misconduct while each witness shreds his narrative apart


Waukesha, WI – On the 15th day of the trial of Darrell Brooks, the defense has its first full day of court, beginning with judge Jennifer Dorow ruling against Brooks’ attempt to call the “state of Wisconsin” to the stand and a motion to dismiss based on the failure of the state to appear in court.

Waukesha Circuit Judge Jennifer Dorow issued her denial to Brooks’ motions before the jury was brought in, which set off a lengthy and heated argument. He argued with her findings and questioned the court having proven its “subject matter jurisdiction,” all of which Dorow dismissed.

Darrell Brooks. Courtesy of Angela Peterson / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Brooks complained he didn’t have the files on the first three defense witnesses available in the morning and thus was unprepared to question them. Dorow informed him that was his responsibility, and that he would have to proceed regardless.

“That’s a rush to judgment. You can’t rush me to judgment,” Brooks plead.

The accused anti-White terrorist faces scores of charges for ramming his SUV through the Waukesha Christmas parade last year, killing six White people and wounding more than 60. Among the dead was an 8-year-old White boy. Brooks is arguing the crank sovereign citizens’ theory that only individual people, not entities such as the state, can bring legal action. It has no basis in any law and has never been upheld in any court.

The state’s more than 70 felony charges against Brooks include six counts of first-degree intentional homicide with a dangerous weapon, 61 counts of recklessly endangering safety with a dangerous weapon, six counts of hit-and-run involving death, and two counts of bail jumping.

The argument continued until Dorow informed him they would proceed regardless, and that he was stalling.

Darrell Brooks looking through boxes of files while sequestered in the other courtroom, one of many times he was removed from Court on Friday. Photo courtesy of Angela Peterson / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“I’m not attempting to delay nothing. You wanna come check the boxes yourself?” Brooks shouted, referring to his box of files. “You always trynna pull some fast maneuvers.”

He continued trying to talk over the judge as she brought in the jury and gave the jury its morning instructions, refusing to call his first witness until she addressed “subject matter jurisdiction,” and accusing Dorow of violating her oath of office. She again removed the jury and then spent 15 minutes indulging Brooks’ legal incompetence.

He said testimony from the lead detective in the case, Thomas Casey, given Thursday, was untrue because Brooks spoke on the phone with his mother on the jail phone, where he says she claimed she never spoke to any Waukesha police officials as if Casey’s testimony should be disallowed based on this. Despite saying she would give Brooks no legal advice, Judge Dorow advised him to bring that up in court by calling his mother, Dawn Woods, as a witness to challenge the detective’s testimony.

First Witness: Douglas Kolar

Douglas Kolar, an IT manager for a local law firm, was at the parade with his daughter, witnessed driving through the parade route, and saw Brooks behind the wheel. In Brooks’ meandering questioning, the witness served to place Brooks at the attack and behind the wheel. He offered no exculpatory or other evidence to contradict the prosecution’s case.

Second Witness: Steven Guth

Brooks next called veteran Waukesha Detective Steven Guth, who was assigned to find and question Erika Patterson, Brooks’ estranged girlfriend. Brooks asked how the report was recorded, and then had Guth recount the events of the domestic dispute before the parade attack – all of which were established in the prosecution’s case and didn’t advance Brooks’ defense.

Brooks then tried to enter into evidence a document that wasn’t described by the court but which the judge ruled irrelevant.

When he asked if the detective, whose records show he thought Patterson wasn’t forthright in his initial interview, meant she was “untruthful,” Guth said, “absolutely not.”

“No, she told me she was extremely afraid of you, and that’s why she didn’t want to tell me everything,” Guth said.

The prosecution didn’t bother to cross-examine Guth.

Mid-Morning Rant

Brooks said he didn’t want to call the last available witness of the morning block, and the judge removed the jury to argue over whether she had that authority.

“That’s still a rush to judgment, your honor,” Brooks said. He also demanded to know if the judge’s rulings were “lawful law.”

This led to a heated argument over the scheduling of Brooks’ witnesses, because the prosecution had to arrange the availability of his witnesses. Brooks went on a full rant.

“I don’t care what you believe fully! It’s not a game, I don’t take this as a game. You don’t gotta explain nothing to me. That’s what you don’t understand. This is not a game to me. Nothing about this is a joke. It is unfair, disrespectful to me. This is disrespectful to me to think I would come in here and treat this like a game! Your life is not on the line. Mine is. And you think I think this is funny? With all due respect, I think you should show some respect. You not rushing me to judgment! I don’t know what you talking about!”

Darrell Brooks

Judge Dorow then called a short break.

Third Witness: Erika Patterson

Brooks’ ex-girlfriend Erika Patterson took the stand and, under questioning by Brooks, once again testified she was at Frame Park near downtown with Kori Runkel and spoke to Brooks on the phone before she met with him, setting up the domestic disturbance on Nov 21, 2021.

Brooks is charged with assaulting her in this case.

She recounted the altercation with Brooks and other details, all of which were established in the prosecution’s case and none of which was disputed.

Brooks also asked her about her interview with Detective Guth and tried to impeach her testimony because she didn’t tell Guth everything about Brooks in her first interview.

What followed was more irrelevant questioning and arguing. Whether it was because of his legal ignorance or it was just a ploy to drag out the proceedings, his defense gained no ground by noon and established no relevant or probative information in his favor.

At one point, he tried to pull a TV-style dramatic surprise, showing Patterson baby pictures that had not been entered into evidence. A visibly shocked prosecution objected and was sustained.

Brooks continued to try to argue that Patterson was lying when she said she hadn’t had contact with him since the parade attack, and the pictures were supposedly proof.

Second Mid-Morning Rant

The judge removed the jury for the second time before noon.

Judge Dorow admonished Brooks that he was opening the door to testimony about his previous criminal and predatory interactions with Patterson, which had been excluded in pre-trial rulings to avoid unnecessary prejudice.

He then argued that the document he earlier referenced during the Guth testimony that wasn’t in evidence was suddenly missing, implying it was stolen.

Darrell Brooks attempting to introduce baby photos. Photo courtesy of Angela Peterson / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

He continued arguing about what was fact and what was evidence, yelling over the judge multiple times.

He did not react well when Judge Dorow asked for an offer of proof, such as the letters accompanying the photo or something to validate his claims as to the photos’ source.

“Are you serious?” Brooks said, mugging.

The prosecution objected to the photos because they were never admitted during the discovery phase, were ultimately irrelevant, and were not enough to question Patterson’s credibility as a witness. On top of that, there was evidence from a recorded jailhouse call that rather than getting the photos from Patterson, Brooks asked his mother, Dawn Woods, to send the photos.

During a heated prosecutorial exchange, Brooks’ sex offender status was even brought up in passing, with the state’s lawyers threatening to bring it up before a jury if Brooks continued to “open the door” to this line of rhetoric by continuing to imply that Erika Patterson was a bad mother. This set Brooks off on a third volatile outburst.

“I’m not finna sit here and let someone be inaccurate on the record!” Brooks shouted. “Get yo facts straight! Did you know she said she was 18 when I met her? Did you know that!”

Darrell Brooks

Judge Dorow almost removed Brooks but took an early lunch recess instead.

A Harder Judicial Line?

After lunch, Judge Dorow took a harsher line than she had previously taken, citing Brooks’ continued pattern of misbehavior, disobedience, disrespect, interruptions, and obstinance.

Before starting, Judge Dorow had Brooks removed to an adjacent courtroom and explained that she believed Brooks was trying to delay and distract, as well as call into question the integrity of the court in hopes of forcing an issue he could use as the basis of an appeal.

She said Brooks’ questioning of Patterson revealed no new information and was just a rehash of previous testimony.

Brooks pretended not to hear the judge invite him back to the courtroom, and made a show of putting on his headphones.

“Yes, but not if you gonna hold me in contempt,” Brooks said.

Despite her hardline minutes earlier, she said she would allow him back in the courtroom.

He produced no support for entering the photos into evidence (an offer of proof), and couldn’t provide an answer as to what new topics he wanted to ask Patterson about.

“I don’t know what she said two weeks ago,” Brooks said, referring to Patterson’s testimony on Oct. 7.

Because he couldn’t produce any new topics, she closed his questioning of Patterson, and because of his arguing, she removed him from the courtroom for the duration of giving the state a chance to cross-examine Patterson.

Afternoon Rant

After the state finished cross-examining Patterson, Brooks repeatedly asked why he was being held in contempt, with Judge Dorow informing him each time that he wasn’t. Judge Dorow then told him—over and over—that this was his final opportunity to re-enter the courtroom, but rather than accept, he continued to complain. A song and dance of Dorow muting Brooks, unmuting him to ask him a question, then re-muting him after he got out of hand then took place.

When Brooks implied he wouldn’t call his next witness, Judge Dorow told him that if he refused, he forfeited the ability to call any future witnesses. Angered by this, Brooks lashed out:

“I don’t need to listen to you!”

“This court ain’t got no integrity!”

“Don’t talk to me like that. Show me where that’s law!”

“How can I forfeit not being able to have a defense? Are you kidding me!?”

Darrell Brooks

Dorow told him that he brought this on himself by making the deliberate decision to represent himself and that he had to accept the consequences of that choice. She repeatedly asked him if he was going to appoint his next witness, to which Brooks continued to argue and spout off with snarky retorts. She finally told him that he had three chances to call a witness, after which she would make a decision outside the presence of the jury. With this, a brief recess was called, after which Brooks began to settle down and was allowed back into the courtroom, along with the jury.

Fourth Witness: Deanna Aldrich

The next witness appointed by Brooks was Deanna Aldrich, a retiree and Waukesha resident. She testified to hearing a loud thumping noise in her neighbor’s yard, then coming outside and seeing a red SUV that was “smashed to smithereens.” She saw the driver get out and run into the bushes, though she couldn’t give a detailed description of the driver as she wasn’t wearing her glasses at the time. Aldrich stated that multiple neighborhood residents came up to the vehicle before she told them not to touch it. Later, police arrived and took a report of what she saw. After this, Brooks dismissed her.

Fifth Witness: Christopher Bertram

Brooks then appointed Christopher Bertram, an electrical worker to the stand. Bertram stated he didn’t have a strong recollection of that day, as he didn’t attend the parade and was taking his mother’s car to a friend’s shop. He did remember seeing a “smashed-up” red car that night, and later being questioned by the FBI regarding the identity of the driver. He then testified to calling 911 after seeing the vehicle. Brooks then dismissed the witness as questioning wasn’t going the way he had hoped.

Brooks then started on another tirade, accusing the witnesses of being coached as their testimonies on the stand didn’t match up exactly with what was recorded in the reports. He then got more and more irate, becoming combative with both the judge and the state, before freezing his face into a stone-faced glare at Judge Dorow, who expressed she felt afraid of him and called for a short recess.

Sixth Witness: Jason Hayes

Brooks then bought Jason Hayes to the stand, a parade spectator who was present during the attack along with his daughter. Brooks asked him if he noticed anything unusual on the day of the parade, to which Hayes responded that a red vehicle drove through the parade and honked. Brooks’ defense strategy seems to be getting anyone he can to say that they heard the vehicle honk, implying he wasn’t trying to hit pedestrians. He asked Hayes if it seemed that the red SUV was trying to hit the children marching in the parade, to which Hayes replied that it did not. Brooks then ended his questioning.

During cross-examination, the state questioned Hayes and had him confirm that he told police he saw the SUV accelerating down the parade route and that the driver had a dark complexion and beard.

Seventh Witness: Abel Lazcano

The next witness appointed by the defense was Abel Lazcano, a hairdresser who attended the parade. Lazcano testified that he couldn’t remember if the sides of the streets were barricaded. Brooks then asked Lazcano if he remembered anything unusual happening during the parade.

Lazcano: “People getting hurt. I saw a red SUV plow over a bunch of people.”

Brooks: “Did you see the driver?”

Lazcano: “Yeah, you’re standing right there.”

Most of Brooks’ questioning fixated on a portion of Lazcano’s statement where he mentioned seeing 2-3 Black men near the car, but Lazcano never stated that any of them were inside the vehicle, nor involved with the attack in any way. This led to fairly unproductive time spent on the stand. During cross-examination, the state asked Lazcano how many people he saw the SUV hit, to which he replied it was “just plowing everyone out of the way.”

Eighth Witness: Kathleen Yourell

The defense then brought Kathleen Yourell to the stand. Like many previous witnesses, she had children in the Xtreme Dance Group and stated that four of her daughters were injured in the attack. Yourell testified seeing a red SUV pull up to an intersection near the parade, and that if you turned left, you would drive away from the parade. She stated seeing the vehicle instead, turning right and started driving through it. She testified hearing the SUV honk its horn and stated that at that point, the SUV was not speeding, but that she was close enough that it could have easily clipped her.

During cross-examination, the state asked Yourell if it was obvious to her that traffic coming from White Rock should avoid turning right unless it was part of the parade, to which she responded, “yes.” They then asked her how many children she had, and Yourell began to cry. She went on to testify that she had four children, all of whom were marching in the parade and were injured in the attack.

Despite constant objections from Brooks, Yourell testified to the extent of each of her children’s injuries. Charlotte suffered chipped vertebrae. Alice had chipped teeth, facial scarring, road rash, broken fibula, tibia, and metatarsal bones, and was in concussion protocol. Vivian, suffered a severe concussion, extreme road rash, lung contusion, facial scarring, and a broken tailbone. Grayson had an open compound fracture in his femur with the bone protruding through the skin.

Ninth Witness: Katrice Babiasz

The next witness called was Katrice Babiasz, a mother who attended the parade with her daughter. She recalled seeing Brooks doing a shoo-ing type motion with his right hand, as he turned onto the parade route. Babiasz said she interpreted this as an attempt to get the paradegoers to move out of the way. She testified to making eye contact with the driver as he passed her, nearly striking her daughter.

“The driver looked through me. It’s very hard to explain that look, but it was very frightening.”

Katrice Babiasz

Babiasz stated that she was injured during the attack, but did not tell anyone about it. When Brooks asked her why, she said, “I haven’t wanted to talk about the traumatic experience, that I’m still reliving, for the weeks and days after the incident.” Brooks replied, “That doesn’t make any sense.”

Brooks continued to antagonize the witness, saying it “just seems odd, don’t you think?” Babiasz clarified that she was referring to emotional trauma, but Brooks continued to trivialize it, referring to it as an “alleged injury.”

Brooks asked Babiasz if the vehicle appeared to attempt to strike anyone. When Babiasz answered yes and began to elaborate, Brooks interrupted her until Dorow stepped in and told her to continue answering the question as she understood it. Brooks then got into the weeds about being referred to by his name once again. He ended his questioning by accusing his own witness of being coached.

During cross-examination, the state asked mostly basic questions, interrupted frequently by Brooks badgering and intimidating the witness, blurting out, “What other details do you not recall? Seems very funny. Seems almost as if you recall what you want to recall.” Judge Dorow once again warned him about this, causing him to lash out.

“Does she feel intimidated!? Are you kidding me!? Intimidating the witness!?

“What have I done to intimidate the witness!?”

“How are you even a judge!? Come on man!”

“You don’t even deserve to be a judge!”

“You have no integrity whatsoever! None. None!”

“Just do what you gotta do so I can get out of here!

I’m tired of being in a courtroom with a judge who has no integrity!”

“I’m finna leave anyway. You can hold me in contempt all you want!”

Darrell Brooks

After this, Judge Dorow set the stage for Monday, laying out the various procedures for both Brooks’ mother and Brooks himself to testify, and adjourned for the day. The trial is scheduled to last until Oct. 28.

Jackson Sparks, 8; Tamara Durand, 52; LeAnna Owen, 71; Wilhelm Hospel, 81; Virginia Sorenson, 79; and Jane Kulich, 52, died in the Waukesha parade attack. All of the victims were White.

A live stream of the trial is available here. For background on Brooks and his alleged anti-White hate crimes, read a summary report by Justice Report’s Jack McKraken. To view the National Justice Party/Media2Rise documentary on Brooks and the Waukesha attack, click here.

The Justice Report’s ongoing reporting of the trial of Darrell Brooks will continue to be updated every day until sentencing.

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