Darrell Brooks trial: Severe weather adjourns testimony early

Prosecutors in the Darrell Brooks trial on Wednesday, Oct. 12 followed the path of the SUV that plowed through the Waukesha Christmas Parade in November 2021 – as more state witnesses share their perspectives on what happened. 

Brooks appeared in a suit and tie Wednesday for the third straight day. During the first week of trial, he wore his orange jail uniform Wednesday-Friday.

Brooks' 13th subpoena filed

Brooks filed his 13th subpoena with the court Wednesday morning, calling the state of Wisconsin to testify.

Judge Jennifer Dorow noted, "That's an entity, not a person, sir."

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Brooks asked for a "legal basis" for why he would not be able to call the state, telling Dorow it is his right under the Sixth Amendment to face his accuser.

Dorow told Brooks, "We have to have a person named, sir, so that they can come and testify. You only have an entity name."


Darrell Brooks

During arguments on this issue, the state agreed with the court.

Brooks argued, "How can they not be subpoenaed to testify if they're the plaintiff? I have the right to face my accuser. My accuser is the state of Wisconsin."

He added that none of his 12 other subpoenas included addresses because "a lot of the paperwork that I have doesn't have the people's addresses on there." Despite that, he said, these subpoenas were accepted.

Dorow said Brooks' 13th subpoena would be kept on file, but she would not require the state to testify in this case. She said Brooks' Sixth Amendment rights had been complied with during this trial, as he had the opportunity to cross-examine every witness called by the state.


Judge Jennifer Dorow

Brooks argued he had not even seen a complaint in the matter and again brought up subject matter jurisdiction, part of his "sovereign citizen" argument.

The judge noted no legal basis requiring her to revisit his request to dismiss the case, noting the plaintiff had established venue and this is a criminal case with criminal charges with a factual basis.

"I've addressed the same issues probably every day we've been in court," Dorow said. "My responses stand."

The defendant said he did not understand the true nature and cause of the charges. Dorow advised him to seek an attorney if he did not understand.

Brooks' 13 subpoenas/witness list

FOX6 News obtained the subpoenas filed by Brooks Wednesday afternoon. At least nine of Brooks' witnesses were on the state's witness list. Two had already testified for the state as of Wednesday afternoon.

Brooks' list is as follows:

  • Kathleen Yourell
  • Erika Patterson – previously testified for the state
  • State of Wisconsin (denied)
  • Katrice Babiaz
  • Heather Riemer
  • Jason Hayes
  • Juan Marquez
  • Douglas Kolar
  • Nicholas Kirby
  • Abel Lazcano
  • Chris Bertam
  • Deanna Aldrich
  • Steven Guth – previously testified for the state

Wednesday, Oct. 12 testimony

Stefanie Bonesteel, parade participant

The jury entered around 8:45 a.m. Wednesday, and witness testimony picked up for the state. It appears the prosecution is calling witnesses in a particular order which follows the path of the SUV through the parade route. 

The first person prosecutors called to the stand Wednesday was Stefanie Bonesteel. She was in the Waukesha Christmas Parade with Citizens Bank. 

Bonesteel testified that she organized co-workers for the parade, including Jane Kulich, who was one of six people killed in the attack. About 15 people were marching alongside the Citizens Bank float, she said, including herself and her two kids, who were passing out candy. Her husband as driving their float truck.

"At one point, I glanced behind me and turned my attention that way," she said. "There seemed to be some sort of commotion. If you have ever been in a parade, it's loud," Bonesteel said. "Something made me look and think: What was that?"

"I turned my attention forward towards our group," she added. "I turned again back to the (Xtreme) Dance Team. Something seemed out of place. That's when I realized I saw headlights."


Stefanie Bonesteel, works at Citizen Bank

Bonesteel testified that she saw a black truck that was part of the dance team's unit in the parade. The headlights, she said, were to the right of that truck and were "coming straight at me." 

"As it passed, I realized it was an SUV," said Bonesteel, estimating the SUV was within 3-5 feet of her. 

Describing what unfolded, Bonesteel testified she saw someone from her group running who was wearing a red poncho and. From her viewpoint, she said she then saw the red poncho "above the roof of the vehicle" before the vehicle went out of sight.


Jane Kulich walking with Citizens Bank group in Waukesha Christmas Prade, as identified by Stefanie Bonesteel in court on Oct. 12

Bonesteel said she found her kids, who were not injured. 

"I grabbed onto them," she said. "My husband came running from where he was and grabbed onto us. At some point, people grabbed us and moved us onto the sidewalk."

Bonesteel reached for a tissue as Brooks began his cross-examination. 

"You weren't able to identify the color of the vehicle?" Brooks asked. 

The witness said "no." Brooks followed up by asking: "With it so close, how could you not?"

Brooks also asked Bonesteel if she saw a license plate. She answered: "Out of fear and panic – I wasn't able to." Bonesteel went on to describe the scene after the SUV drove through and said she went inside a nearby business. 

Bonesteel said she did not see the driver of the SUV and that she gave a statement the Friday after the Sunday, Nov. 21 attack. Brooks asked her if she "filed any claims in this matter;" Bonesteel said she had not.

Adam Bonesteel, parade participant

The second person called to the stand was Adam Bonesteel, Stefanie Bonesteel's husband. He was driving the float for Citizens Bank during the Waukesha Christmas Parade. 

Bonesteel testified he had the driver's side window down as he drove the float through the parade and was not playing loud music. He said the Xtreme Dance Team was behind the Citizens Bank group, while the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies group was in front. The Citizens Bank group, he said, was "left kind of in the middle" because they had "a lot more people walking."

"I noticed when I looked out my mirror, I saw headlights, thinking, ‘They are so far over,’" said Bonesteel. "I saw a woman running to the back corner, trying to get to the vehicle."


Adam Bonesteel

"You hear the engine, a person running," asked Waukesha County District Attorney Sue Opper. "Did you know who it was?"

"No, but they had red clothes on," Bonesteel answered. "I watched the body fly up onto the hood, her body snap back and I thought I could have reached out and grabbed her."

Bonesteel testified that he saw "Jane (Kulich)" fall on the hood of a vehicle, and she was then run over. He estimated the SUV that hit Kulich was driving roughly 30 mph. He said he was going 2 mph.

"I thought my wife was the person on the car, said Bonesteel. "Then the body is on the ground. At that point, that was my only focus."

Bonesteel said he later learned Jane Kulich had passed away.

"My gut feeling was she had passed," he said.

"Meaning when you went up to her?" asked Opper. Bonesteel said "yes."

Upon cross-examination, Brooks asked Bonesteel if he saw the driver of the SUV, to which Bonesteel answered he did not. Brooks then asked why Bonesteel identified the driver as "he" if he hadn't seen the driver. Bonesteel again testified he saw the SUV hit Kulich.

Matthew Harris, parade attendee

The third person called to the stand was Matthew Harris. He went to the Waukesha Christmas Parade with a group, including his two daughters, 7 and 3. He said they were at the corner of Main and Clinton.

Harris testified he saw the SUV coming at him but that it veered away. He said he then heard "an eerie sound – not parade sounds" but could not see because there was a large vehicle blocking his view.


Matthew Harris

"I saw it make a right turn towards our corner. I remember screaming, 'Get back!’" said Harris, noting children were there. "My immediate thought was he hit something."

Harris said his daughter's foot was run over and another girl in the group with them was sideswiped. He also testified he did not hear a horn honking as the SUV came by. 


Matthew Harris' location at the Waukesha Christmas Parade


Matthew Harris carries his daughter at the Waukesha Christmas Parade

He noted he works at ProHealthCare, and after the attack, he got a notification that the hospital was on lockdown. 

"Just mass chaos – I'm a combat veteran," said Harris. "I had never seen anything like this. Screams. Sirens. What is actually going on here?"

During his cross-examination, Brooks asked Harris if he saw the driver of the SUV, got a license plate or saw tint on the windows; Harris said he did not, only noting the color of the SUV – red. 

Heather Ricciotti, parade attendee

The fourth person called to the stand was Heather Ricciotti, who attended the parade with her three kids, ages 7, 5 and 2. She testified she was also at the location where Harris was, near Main and Clinton. Her son, Owen, 5 at the time, was hit. 

"It was coming faster than any parade float should have – it was confusing," Ricciotti said of the SUV. "It veered into the crowd and my son got hit."

Ricciotti described her son's injuries, and Brooks began his cross-examination.


Heather Ricciotti

"I did not expect my kid to get hit at a parade," she said. "Typically, at a parade, floats are going very slow. Another mom was concerned about kids being far into the street because they were getting candy."

Brooks asked Ricciotti about the incident and why she did not follow up after speaking to law enforcement. 

"I knew police were going to do their jobs," she said.


Heather Ricciotti's location at the Waukesha Christmas Parade 

The court then took a mid-morning break.

Before this, Brooks again brought up subject matter jurisdiction. Dorow again noted that the "record stands."

"I have previously addressed that issue," Dorow said.  

Daniel Knapp, parade attendee

The fifth person called to the stand was Daniel Knapp. He attended the Waukesha Christmas Parade with his wife and three kids, including a daughter who was hit.

"There is a difference between laughing and having a joyful time and screaming out of fear or terror," Knapp said when asked by the prosecution what was different about the screams he heard.

Knapp said a car coming at them at a parade was "very unexpected." He testified that he saw the SUV hit his daughter and that she "flew 15 feet" toward Clinton Street. He said he then picked up his daughter and ran – not knowing if there was another vehicle – taking her to the hospital for treatment. He said his daughter had an injury to her spleen and needed "some facial surgery."

Knapp said he did not hear a horn as the SUV drove through but that he saw one person inside the vehicle, describing the person as a Black male whose eyes were wide open.


Daniel Knapp

"You looked eye to eye with the person who hit your daughter?" the prosecution asked.

"I did," answered Knapp.

Upon cross-examination, Knapp said he was roughly 20 feet away from the SUV when he locked eyes with the person inside it.

"From that distance, you were able to clearly lock eyes," asked Brooks.

"The vehicle was coming straight at me. I was able to lock eyes, yes," Knapp answered.

He said he wasn't able to get the make/model of the vehicle or notice what clothing the driver was wearing. 

"I saw the face of the driver," he said. "I did not see pants or make out any shirt or jacket or any other markings."

Brooks asked about his testimony that the vehicle turned away after coming toward him.

"Why do you think the vehicle would be turning away from you?" Brooks asked. 


Darrell Brooks in court Wednesday, Oct. 12

Brooks also questioned Knapp about his police report, noting that he described the driver as an African American male with long hair and facial hair.

"I remember describing the driver of the vehicle that I made eye contact with as a Black male with facial hair," Knapp said. "I don't necessarily remember stating long hair."

Brooks offered to show the report to Knapp. The state made an objection, noting again that Knapp did not write the statement; it was a summary written by police after Knapp spoke with investigators. 

"If I stated it at that time, then that was my recollection at the time," said Knapp. "Eleven months later, it is my recollection that I made eye contact."

Knapp added that the driver "was a Black male with facial hair and wide eyes. I don't recall stating long hair."

Brooks asked why he wasn't able to see the driver's head if he could see the face.

"My eyes were locked on a vehicle that was driving at a high rate of speed with the person driving the vehicle's eyes extremely wide," said Knapp. "At that moment, my full attention went to my children, where that vehicle was driving at a very high rate of speed."

"You keep making reference to the eyes," Brooks said. "Because you were so fixated on the eyes, it would be hard to tell any other features."


David Knapp's location at Waukesha Christmas Parade 

"I'm stating what I saw – wide eyes, Black male, facial hair," said Knapp.

There was then a discussion about skin complexion, with Brooks questioning Knapp about the fact that he said the driver had a dark complexion. Brooks said the person Knapp identified in court as the driver "does not have a dark complexion."

Knapp said it "depends on the definition of dark."

At around 11:35 a.m., Dorow interrupted Brooks' cross-examination to call for the lunch recess – citing a tornado warning and safety concerns. She told Brooks his cross-examination would resume after the recess.

While court resumed, Dorow called for recess roughly 30 minutes in "frankly, for the need for me to check on my house." 

Jurors were ordered to return at 8 a.m. Thursday, and the judge noted they could have a few long days due to Wednesday's early adjournment. 

Christmas parade attack

Prosecutors say Brooks drove a red SUV through the parade route on Nov. 21, 2021, killing six and injuring more than 60 others. 

On Nov. 21, 2021, according to prosecutors, Brooks met up with his ex-girlfriend in Frame Park, the same woman he is accused of running over with his red SUV earlier in November 2021. She told police they argued in his SUV before he started driving, and he "was driving around with one hand and striking her in the face with his other hand." She eventually got out and called her friends for help. 


Waukesha parade attack victims identified

Soon after that, according to prosecutors, Brooks drove that red SUV through the parade route, killing Jackson Sparks, 8, Virginia Sorenson, 79, LeAnna Owen, 71, Tamara Durand, 52, Jane Kulich, 52 and Wilhelm Hospel, 81. More than 60 others were hurt.