December 7, 2022

close Waukesha parade killer found guilty on all 76 counts Video

Waukesha parade killer found guilty on all 76 counts

Parade witness Kimberlee Coronado joined ‘Fox & Friends First’ to discuss her recollection of the tragedy and the ‘lifelong’ healing journey the community will endure. 

The Dancing Grannies, a Milwaukee-based group of women that lost four of its members in the Waukesha Christmas tragedy, is preparing for its return to the Wisconsin community’s annual parade nearly one year after Darrell Brooks Jr. killed six and injured countless others.

The Dancing Grannies will return Dec. 4 to the route where devastation unfolded nearly one year ago at the Christmas parade, The Associated Press reported. Among those killed were “Dancing Grannies” Tamara Durand, 52, Jane Kulich, 52, LeAnna Owen, 71, and Virginia Sorenson, 79.

The group will honor its fallen members and, much like Sorenson would tell them, will “keep on dancing.”

DARRELL BROOKS JR., WISCONSIN CHRISTMAS PARADE KILLER, SENTENCED TO SIX CONSECUTIVE LIFE SENTENCES

The six victims killed in the Waukesha parade attack were identified as Jackson Sparks, 8; Tamara Durand, 52; Jane Kulich, 52; LeAnna Owen, 71; Virginia Sorenson, 79; and Wilhelm Hospel, 81.

The six victims killed in the Waukesha parade attack were identified as Jackson Sparks, 8; Tamara Durand, 52; Jane Kulich, 52; LeAnna Owen, 71; Virginia Sorenson, 79; and Wilhelm Hospel, 81.
(Facebook)

“We’ve got to get back out there,” JeannieKnutson, an original “granny” told the AP.

Brooks, 41, was sentenced Wednesday to six consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole for the Nov. 21, 2021, parade attack. The fifth and sixth victims were Jackson Sparks, 8 and Wilhelm Hospel, 81.

FACING THEIR ACCUSERS: INFAMOUS SUSPECTS WHO DITCHED THEIR ATTORNEYS, REPRESENTED THEMSELVES DURING TRIAL

A plaque honoring Virginia "Ginny" Sorenson rests on a lamp post Nov. 3, 2022, along Main Street in Waukesha, Wis., as Donna Kalik walks nearby.

A plaque honoring Virginia "Ginny" Sorenson rests on a lamp post Nov. 3, 2022, along Main Street in Waukesha, Wis., as Donna Kalik walks nearby.
(AP Photo/Martha Irvine)

Durand was one of the group’s newest members, while Sorenson was lauded as the ladies’ “glue” who “held the group together,” one of the women told the AP.

Brooks drove a red Ford Escape through a crowd of paradegoers — including children and elderly people —during the Nov. 21, 2021, Christmas celebration. He was fleeing a fight with his ex at the time.

Jan Kwiatkowski shows her "Granny Strong" tattoo after a Milwaukee Dancing Grannies practice in Milwaukee Nov. 2, 2022. 

Jan Kwiatkowski shows her "Granny Strong" tattoo after a Milwaukee Dancing Grannies practice in Milwaukee Nov. 2, 2022. 
(AP Photo/Martha Irvine)

He was charged with six counts of first-degreeintentional homicide, and prosecutors soon added dozens more counts. Brooks initially pleaded not guilty and then changed his plea to not guilty by mental disease.

It took a juryonly three hours to find him guilty of all 76 counts related to the attack.

A banner for the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies flutters in the wind as the Grannies march in a Veterans Day parade in Milwaukee Nov. 5, 2022. 

A banner for the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies flutters in the wind as the Grannies march in a Veterans Day parade in Milwaukee Nov. 5, 2022. 
(AP Photo/Kenny Yoo)

Before sentencing him on Wednesday, Waukesha County Judge Jennifer R. Dorowsaid she “searched for a mitigating factor in this case.”

“I waited patiently for an apology, a true apology,” Dorow said. “I didn’t get it, and not for my benefit, but for the victims.

DARRELL BROOKS FOUND GUILTY OF FIRST-DEGREE INTENTIONAL HOMICIDE IN WAUKESHA CHRISTMAS PARADE MASSACRE

Darrell Brooks listens to victim statements during his sentencing in a Waukesha County Circuit Court in Waukesha, Wis., Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022.  

Darrell Brooks listens to victim statements during his sentencing in a Waukesha County Circuit Court in Waukesha, Wis., Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022.  
(Mike De Sisti/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP, Pool)

“There is no medication or treatment for a heart that is bent on evil,” Dorow added. “Child trauma, bipolar, indifference, physical abuse of a child or even childhood trauma did not cause Darrell Brooks to commit the acts for which he will be sentenced here today. It is very clear to this court that he understands the difference between right and wrong and that he simply chooses to ignore his conscience. He is fueled by anger and rage.”

In addition to the life sentences, Dorow sentenced Brooks to 762½ years in prison, plus 305 years of “extended supervision.”

The words "Keep On Dancing" decorate the back of Kathi Schmeling’s jacket as she marches at a practice of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies Nov. 2, 2022, in Milwaukee.

The words "Keep On Dancing" decorate the back of Kathi Schmeling’s jacket as she marches at a practice of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies Nov. 2, 2022, in Milwaukee.
(AP Photo/Martha Irvine)

Jan Kwiatkowski, a 67-year-old who has become a leader among the “Grannies,” reiterated Sorenson’s long-held words to the AP.

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“Ginny always had this saying before parades: ‘If you make a mistake, if you get off kilter, if you drop your pom poms, no matter what, you keep on dancing,’” she said. “And that’s the mantra we all grabbed on to.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.