WAUKESHA (Wis.) -- Friday's October trial date was set by a judge for a man accused of driving his SUV into the suburban Milwaukee Christmas parade last year . The incident resulted in six deaths and scores more.
Darrell Brooks Jr. pleaded guilty to over 70 charges, including six counts for homicide in connection with the Nov. 21 incident at downtown Waukesha.
Jennifer Darow, Waukesha County Circuit Judge, scheduled Brooks' trial for Oct. 3rd and continue through Oct. 28. Brooks' attorneys told her that they would need to present their case for five to seven more days. Brooks' lawyers said that they were unsure how long they would need.
During the hearing, Darow admitted that she knew the father of one victim. She stated that her family had hired him to do legal work in the past. He also donated $500 to her judicial campaign. After the parade, she sent him text messages offering her condolences. She stated that she has not spoken to him since the texts and promised to be impartial in officiating the case.
Darow ordered both sides of the case to start drafting surveys to be mailed to potential jurors in Waukesha to determine if an impartial jury could be chosen in the county. Brooks' lawyer filed a motion last month asking for Waukesha County to move the trial or draw jurors from another area because of the negative publicity.
Brooks' lawyers noted in the motion how the community has adopted the slogan "Waukesha Strong", people have built a temporary memorial for the dead, and media outlets have used Brooks photos in court in chains. The attorneys also noted that Jill Biden, first lady, visited Waukesha. Her remarks about the parade crash being a "tragedy", were widely reported. They added that Brooks has been called to death by social media users.