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(WAUKESHA, Wis.) — A sentencing hearing for Darrell Brooks, the man convicted of murdering six people after driving his SUV through a Christmas parade in Wisconsin, was briefly suspended Tuesday due to a threat made on the Waukesha courthouse, the judge said.
Dozens of survivors of last year’s attack in Waukesha are planning to address Brooks during the two-day sentencing hearing, which started Tuesday morning.
About 90 minutes into the hearing, the court went into recess shortly before 10 a.m. local time after Judge Jennifer Dorow said she was advised by the sheriff “that their communication center had received a threat to the courthouse,” she told the court.
Court proceedings resumed over an hour later, around 11:15 a.m.
“The sheriff has assured me that this building is quite safe — ‘very secure,’ were his words — and that he has taken all reasonable measures to secure the courthouse this time,” she said.
Dorow apologized for the “abrupt disruption” to the victims’ statements.
“I am confident that we can go forward at this time,” she said.
Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow said the sheriff’s office is investigating the credibility of “an anonymous threat” to the Waukesha County Courthouse.
“County offices are conducting business as usual,” he said on Twitter. “If you are in the Courthouse, you may notice an increased presence of law enforcement personnel.”
Brooks, 40, was found guilty last month on all 76 counts, including six counts of first-degree intentional homicide, for barreling his SUV into a Christmas parade on Nov. 21, 2021. He dismissed his public defenders during the trial and went on to represent himself.
Prosecutors expect 45 people, including nine children, to make victim impact statements during the two-day sentencing hearing, ABC Milwaukee affiliate WISN reported.
Brooks’ sentencing has been scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.
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