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Deadly Wisconsin parade suspect previously lived in, was arrested in Utah

Posted at 2:41 PM, Nov 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-22 23:25:38-05

SALT LAKE CITY — The man suspected of driving an SUV through a Wisconsin parade and killing five people previously lived in Utah, court documents show.

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On Monday, police officially named Darrell Brooks, 39, a suspect in the tragedy that also injured 48 people when he allegedly drove through a crowd of people performing in the Waukesha Christmas Parade.

Brooks is believed to have been involved in a domestic disturbance incident before driving through the parade.

Court records obtained by FOX 13 show Brooks was arrested in Salt Lake City in August 2017 on misdemeanor charges of possession of marijuana and the use or possession of drug paraphernalia.

At the time of the arrest, Brooks listed a Milwaukee address as his home. Bail in the case was originally set at $680.

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However, in May 2020, due to what was described in documents as "witness issues," both charges were dismissed with prejudice, meaning the charges cannot be brought back before the court.

A woman previously married to Brooks was granted a divorce one year after their marriage by a judge in a West Jordan court in 2012.

Documents show Brooks and Mary Denise Brooks were married in Oklahoma in 2010, but had become residents of Salt Lake County when the divorce was granted in March 2012. The couple had no children and alimony was not awarded to either Brooks or his ex-wife.

Brooks’ charges in Utah are just a glimpse of his lengthy criminal history.

Utah defense attorney Greg Skordas said in this case, he would have thought Brooks be kept on higher bail.

“You might have expected that a person with his criminal history, especially facing at the time probably an aggravated assault charge, would have been held on bail greater than what he was able to be released on,” Skordas said.

“It was pretty clear from some of the reports and some of the information that I looked at, that he certainly had been engaged in violent behavior and even the district attorney is re-examining how this person got released. Because under his assessment, this person should not have been released,” said Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill.

Some on social media claim bail reform is to blame, but Gill said lowering bail isn’t what bail reform is all about.

“It’s not about just simply saying letting people out,” he said. “It’s about making sure we assess the risk when it's done right. That the person who is at-risk to our community should never be released, and at the same time, we should not be holding people who are non-violent.”