Waukesha Christmas Parade Suspect Gets Brutal Dose of Reality from His Own Mom


The mother of the alleged Waukesha, Wisconsin, parade killer has told a Milwaukee NBC affiliate she’s begged her child not to act as his own attorney and said “you’re going to see manic, full-blown” mental illness on display when the trial begins.

Darrell Brooks Jr. allegedly killed six people and wounded dozens of others when he drove an SUV through a crowd of people during a Christmas parade in Waukesha on Nov. 21, 2021. He faces almost 80 counts in the case, including six counts of first-degree intentional homicide.

Brooks, who had a lifetime rap sheet 44 pages long, was out on bail posted by his mother less than a week before the attack after being charged in a domestic violence case.

As for a motive for the alleged killing, that still remains unclear. Some have pointed to racist and anti-Semitic statements he made made on social media as a possible motive. Authorities have not identified that as a factor, however.

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As Brooks’ trial is about to begin, his mother, Dawn Woods, says the real reason behind it is untreated mental illness — and she is pleading with her child not to act as his own attorney.

Woods, who wrote a letter to the court asking it to not allow her son to represent himself, told WTMJ-TV she did it because “I wanted to help Darrell.”

“I knew that he was not mentally capable of presenting himself as his own attorney,” she said.

She said the alleged attack was the result of “his mental illness, not being medicated.”

Woods said her son told her he’s “fighting for his life” by representing himself, but she responded that “we need to look at reality for what it is.”

What is reality, according to Woods?

“You did what they said you did, even though it wasn’t intentional,” she said, speaking as if to her son. “But you did. You’re going to have to go to prison.”

Last month, Brooks withdrew his insanity plea, telling the judge “I have my own reasons why” it was being withdrawn.

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According to CBS News, the suspect had initially pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. He’s now pleaded simply not guilty.

On Sept. 28, the judge in the case ruled that Brooks can represent himself despite the fact, according to The Associated Press, “the suspect said he doesn’t understand the charges against him or how the state can prosecute him.”

Brooks has turned the trial into a circus thus far, with the judge forced to call 10 courtroom recesses due to his disruptive behavior on Monday. He was removed from the courtroom multiple times and said he didn’t recognize the judge as a legitimate state authority.

Should Brooks have been allowed to represent himself?

Woods also sat down with WITI-TV on Thursday, the first day her son began questioning witnesses in his trial.

“We talk about the families often and the victims, and he says to me that he prays for them, too, and he has to live with the fact that six people died because of him,” she said. “He is very full of shame.”

When asked whether she felt responsibility for posting his bail, she said yes.

“Had I just not bailed him out, then none of this would have happened,” she said.

She said she thought by posting bail, the woman involved in the domestic dispute, Brooks’ girlfriend, would tell her the truth about the charges.

“Even though that was not the first time she said Darrell hurt her, came back and said she lied. She was saying stuff because she was mad,” she said.

As it turns out, that decision could have cost six lives. Just one conviction on any count of intentional murder could put him behind bars for the rest of his life.

If only he’d been behind bars on Nov. 21, 2021.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture