The Perfect Enemy | Darrell Brooks trial: COVID adjournment, subpoenas requested
December 9, 2022
Read Time:6 Minute

Darrell Brooks requested an adjournment of his trial in the Waukesha Christmas parade attack Wednesday, Oct. 5, telling the court he believes he has COVID and needs to wait until at least Friday for test results to come back. Prosecutors said he’s heard on jail phone calls telling his mother he’s going to delay the trial. 

Waukesha County Judge Jennifer Dorow scheduled Wednesday afternoon’s hearing to handle final housekeeping issues before the start of the Brooks trial. Opening statements are set for Thursday morning. 

An hour in, none of the housekeeping issues had been addressed.

During his court appearance Wednesday afternoon, back in his jail attire because the jury was not present, Brooks sought an adjournment due to the Waukesha County Jail’s COVID-19 protocol. 

“I’ve had people close to me who have passed away from COVID – I’m frightened,” Brooks told the court.

Judge Dorow said she offered him the opportunity to wear a suit and tie, as he did Monday and Tuesday, but he declined.

Darrell Brooks

As for the COVID adjournment request, the judge said she did not have any information regarding the COVID-19 protocol and that the jail had not provided her with specifics. Brooks told the judge he is fully vaccinated, but that he lost taste and was fatigued. He said he reported the loss of taste to the jail Tuesday night but said he’d been feeling bad “for a few days.” Brooks added he was seen by jail nurses and not allowed out of his cell until test results come back, which he said would not be until Friday. Brooks insisted the court had this information. Dorow said she had no other information on his COVID status, citing HIPAA.

The judge reiterated that Brooks would have to verify his status within the protocol himself.

Asked if he objected to the judge asking the jail administrator, Brooks said, “Absolutely not.” Administrator Angela Wollenhaupt, who oversees staff and inmate issues at the jail, took the witness stand. Wollenhaupt noted that she had not reviewed Brooks’ medical record before coming to court, and he had not signed a release to speak to the court about it. 

She said if in COVID protocol, Brooks would remain in his current cell and have access to a conference room and phone. She said they would be able to “safely produce him for court.”

She added that Brooks made statements that prompted the medical department to follow up, and a COVID test was administered.

Darrell Brooks COVID adjournment request

Brooks refused to take a rapid test, seeking to delay the trial until Friday when his test results come back.

“Why would I need to take two tests for the same thing?” said Brooks. “If I’m taking a COVID test, why would I need to take another one?”

He later followed up with, “I still don’t have clarity on that, your Honor. I’m baffled.”

When asked if Brooks’ discovery materials were in his cell, the jail administrator said yes, and Brooks tried to object. Dorow said he was not able to testify and overruled his objection, giving him a final warning. After almost an hour Wednesday afternoon, Brooks was moved to the courtroom next door because of increased outbursts. Dorow said there were 10 interruptions. 

Darrell Brooks objects from the courtroom next door.

The judge pointed out Brooks is not within six feet of anyone else in the courtroom. Brooks dropped his head and shook it while sighing. 

Waukesha County District Attorney Susan Opper said she believes Brooks’ adjournment request is a delay tactic. Opper said Brooks is heard in recorded jail phone calls telling his mother he plans to delay the trial.  

Opper added that even if Brooks was on COVID protocol, it would have zero impact on his ability to prepare for the case, noting he has all necessary materials in his cell. 

Brooks asked why the recorded phone calls couldn’t be brought into court through a sworn affidavit. “How can that be a delay tactic?” he asked.

The defendant and the judge then began speaking over each other, with Dorow reminding Brooks he needed to abide by the court standards of conduct and Brooks again saying he did not recognize the name placed on the complaint against him. “That’s not who I am,” he told the court.

Brooks requested six subpoena forms “as soon as possible” on Tuesday, court filings obtained by FOX6 News show. Twenty-one subpoena forms were delivered to him at the jail Wednesday morning, according to online court records, and Judge Dorow in court said her staff would provide copies, as well.

Also on Wednesday, a crew from Court TV was working to set up a multi-camera system within Judge Dorow’s court to best capture the trial for broadcast. FOX6 News will stream the trial in its entirety on the following platforms: 

16-member jury seated

On Tuesday, the court seated a 16-member jury that includes ten men and six women — all white. The jury selection process was completed around 6:30 p.m. The jury panel was ordered to return at 8:30 a.m. Thursday for opening statements.

Darrell Brooks trial, jury selection, peremptory strike process

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Now that the jury is selected, FOX6 News can tell you the potential jurors were asked more than 100 questions, including: 

  • Do you accept Brooks is innocent until proven guilty?
  • Do you have bias for or against Brooks because of his race?
  • Have you seen, heard or read any news coverage on the case?

Christmas parade attack

Prosecutors say Brooks drove a red SUV through the parade route on Nov. 21, 2021, killing six and injuring more than 60 others. 

On Nov. 21, 2021, according to prosecutors, Brooks met up with his ex-girlfriend in Frame Park, the same woman he is accused of running over with his red SUV earlier in November 2021. She told police they argued in his SUV before he started driving, and he “was driving around with one hand and striking her in the face with his other hand.” She eventually got out and called her friends for help. 

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Waukesha parade attack victims identified

Soon after that, according to prosecutors, Brooks drove that red SUV through the parade route, killing Jackson Sparks, 8, Virginia Sorenson, 79, LeAnna Owen, 71, Tamara Durand, 52, Jane Kulich, 52 and Wilhelm Hospel, 81. More than 60 others were hurt. 

Brooks was arrested the night of the attack, soon after telling a Waukesha resident that he was homeless and waiting for an Uber. The man was unaware of the events that had occurred and let Brooks into his home.

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Brooks entered an insanity plea in June after initially pleading not guilty to the charges in February, a move that could have resulted in him being sentenced to a mental institution rather than prison if convicted. He later dropped the insanity plea on Sept. 9. 

Darrell Brooks

Darrell Brooks faces 76 charges, including six counts of first-degree intentional homicide and 61 counts of reckless endangerment. Each homicide charge carries a mandatory life sentence.