MILWAUKEE — Ahead of opening statements Thursday in the trial of Waukesha parade suspect Darrell Brooks Jr., experts said the past few days are likely a preview of where Brooks goes from here.
“Extremely non-traditional — usually when you’re selecting a jury, what you’re trying to do is build a rapport with them and find out about the jurors,” John Gross, a professor of law at the University of Wisconsin Law School, told Spectrum News 1. “I think Mr. Brooks’ lack of formal legal training, in addition to his just disruptive tactics, made that a very challenging process.”
Late Tuesday, Judge Jennifer Dorow formally seated the jury for Brooks’ trial — 10 men, 6 women, all white — as Brooks continues to represent himself against 77 charges in the wake of the Waukesha Christmas parade tragedy.
He allegedly killed six people and injured more than 60 others after driving his SUV through the Waukesha Christmas parade in Nov. 2021.
Gross said Brooks may struggle to understand exactly what an opening statement means.
“It will be interesting to see as opening statements, people often think, are an opportunity to make an argument,” Gross added. “According to the rules, an opening statement is about what you think the evidence will show, and I don’t know if Mr. Brooks will understand the distinction between those two things, so I would expect his opening statement to be quite argumentative...”
Jury instruction will begin Thursday morning, followed by the opening statements. Four weeks have been set aside for the trail, according to the court calendar.