Skip to main content

Darrell Brooks Apologizes to Judge for ‘Emotional’ Courtroom Outbursts, References His ‘Christian Background’ and the Way Mom Raised Him



Darrell Brooks, the man charged with murdering six people by ramming his SUV through a Christmas parade, apologized in court Monday for lashing out during his trial.

The 40-year-old self-professed “sovereign” has been representing himself since firing his public defenders just a few days before jury selection. Since then, he repeatedly clashed with Judge Jennifer Dorow, who said he was constantly talking over her.

“I would like to issue the court an apology from me in regards to my actions last week during the trial,” he said. “I just want the court to understand it’s very emotional right now. Not only for just the whole situation of the trial. The families here to have to go through everything that’s going to be involved with the trial, but also my family as well and myself. It’s very, very emotional, but not to excuse my actions, I should have carried myself with better respect. I wasn’t raised that way. I owe you, your honor, and the  court an apology, and I want to stand up as a man and tell the whole court” — he stood up — “and you your honor that I apologize to the bailiffs, that I apologize for my actions.”

“Like I said, that’s not how I was raised. I come from a Christian background. My mother did not raise me that way. She did not raise me to act out out of frustration and irritation and anger. I just wanted everybody to know that I apologize for my actions,” Brooks continued. “I’m going to try my best — whatever happens — to conduct myself with respect and with respect to the court. And I just wanted you to know that: prosecution, judge, bailiffs, clerks, reporters, everybody, audience, everybody here. I just wanted you to know that.”

Dorow said she appreciated that.

“Understandably so, this is an emotional experience I think for everyone involved,” she said. “And I appreciate that you upon reflection have realized that courtesy and decorum are an important part of a court proceeding.”

Brooks is charged as the driver who rammed his red Ford Escape SUV through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on Nov. 21, 2021. Six people were killed: Jackson Sparks, 8, Tamara Durand, 52, Jane Kulich, 52, Leanna “Lee” Owen, 71, Virginia Sorenson, 79, and Wilhelm Hospel, 81.

Brooks was fleeing after punching his ex-girlfriend Erika Patterson and harassing her, Assistant District Attorney Zachary Wittchow told jurors in his opening statement Thursday.

Before firing his attorneys and acting as his own lawyer, Brooks walked back a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. He is saving his opening statement for after the state’s case.

Brooks has described himself in court as a “sovereign citizen” or, as he later said, “sovereign.” So-called sovereign citizens assert that the government holds no true, legal sway over them because they, not the government, are the “sovereign.” Brooks went on to engage in constant back and forth with Dorow since firing his attorneys.

“So I’m done,” the judge said, ending a hearing late last month. “If need be, we will come back tomorrow but at this point, the court’s in recess. We’re adjourned.”

Dorow said last week that Brooks’ actions were an attempt to delay trial. When he was firing his attorneys, she impressed upon him that he would be at a disadvantage facing a team of veteran prosecutors, that they would not delay trial for this, and that finding new lawyers would be difficult so close to the beginning of the trial.

The friction peaked on Thursday, before jury instructions. Dorow suggested Brooks change out of his orange jail clothes for a suit, but he refused, saying it would have been futile since it is well publicized that he is in jail. She kicked him out of court to a room linked by a video livestream. As seen on footage, Brooks even took off his shirt.

But Brooks showed up to court on Monday wearing a suit. He also stuck with sovereign citizen talking points in his defense, such as objecting to being called by his name.

[Screenshot via Law&Crime Network]

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow Law&Crime: