Posted on October 13, 2022

Waukesha Christmas-Parade Trial, Day Five

Anastasia Katz, American Renaissance, October 13, 2022

At the start of the fifth trial day, defendant Darrell Brooks, who is representing himself, handed a subpoena to the judge. He wanted to call an out-of-state witness, but decided not to, when he learned it would be his responsibility to arrange her transportation and lodging.

He filled out paperwork for another subpoena. Judge Jennifer Dorow looked it over for completeness, and said that he wrote only “State of Wisconsin, plaintiff” on it. Since the trial began, he has been confused about who the “plaintiff” in this case is, and how it is represented in court. The judge told him he needed to name a person who can come in and testify; he only named an entity. He asked her if he had a 6th Amendment right to face his accuser. “The state of Wisconsin is bringing the claim against my client. How can they not be called to testify?” Mr. Brooks asked.

The judge declared the subpoena unacceptable. Mr. Brooks insisted that a claim has to be brought by a “living, breathing human being.”

Darrell Brooks

Judge Dorow told him he was confusing civil law with criminal law. He kept arguing and she told him he can raise that issue on appeal if he’s convicted. He asked her to make a determination that his 6th Amendment rights had been violated; she refused. “On the contrary,” she said. “I believe this court has honored those rights.”

After the jurors entered, witness testimony began with Stefanie Bonesteel of Citizen’s Bank. As she marched in the parade with her children and co-worker Jane Kulich, Mrs. Bonsteel heard a commotion and looked back. She saw a pair of headlights on an SUV coming straight at her. She saw someone running, trying to get out of the way of the oncoming car. She knew from the red poncho this person was wearing that it was someone marching with her group. She heard a loud thud and then “a very audible gasp” from the crowd. The person in the red poncho was on the roof of the SUV. After the vehicle went by, she looked for her children.

Her husband, Adam Bonesteel, was driving the bank’s parade float. He saw headlights in his side mirror and heard the roar of an engine. He noticed someone in a red poncho, running. He heard an impact, then saw the woman fly up on the hood, and she stayed there as the vehicle passed by. The SUV and victim passed by so close to him that he could have touched them. He saw the woman fall off the hood. The right front and rear tires ran over her, and he heard the engine roar again. “I thought my wife was the woman on the car,” he said emotionally. “So, you see your whole life going by you. . . and then a body is lying on the ground.”

He rushed to the woman to see if she was his wife, but it was Jane Kulich. He was “pretty sure” she was dead. After finding his wife and children, he learned that Kulich was dead.

Mr. Bonesteel identified Jane Kulich in a video of the impact. The jury has had to watch a lot of disturbing videos. From Mr. Brooks’ reaction, he also found it disturbing, or pretended to. He paused and sighed, then said, “I apologize, I just needed a quick second.” He whispered to himself, or possibly to the cameras, “Hold it together.”

His cross exam of Mr. Bonesteel focused on Mr. Bonesteel’s comment that he had seen brake lights on the red vehicle. He tried to imply that he was braking so as to avoid hitting people.

Matthew Harris went to see the parade with a group of friends and family. They watched from a small median, where the children could collect candy from marchers. The Dancing Grannies had just passed by, when he heard a gasp from the crowd, telling him something was wrong. He saw a red SUV come around the corner straight towards him. He screamed, “Get back!” to the children. He saw the vehicle hit something, then he saw the SUV go towards the Dancing Grannies.

Matthew Harris

People were lying in the street. “I’m a combat veteran,” Mr. Harris said. “I’ve been around mass hysteria most of my career and I’ve never seen anything like this, in such a safe environment. . . . It was an odd, eerie feeling.”

He checked on his daughters. Seven-year-old Brinley had been run over and had broken bones in her foot and leg, and her shoes were knocked off. He found only one; there was a tire mark on it.

A woman wearing plaid pajamas was lying on the ground, with a lot of people around her. He saw two people on the ground where the Dancing Grannies had been marching.

Heather Ricciotti watched the parade from the median. Her three children were going into the street to collect candy, and at one point a cop came by and told them to stay back. Another mother wondered if the children were wandering too far out again, but Mrs. Ricciotti said, “Everything is going slow, they’re not going to get hit.”

After the red SUV plowed through, she gathered her children and ran to her car. Her 5-year-old son Owen had been hit. She dropped the two uninjured children at home and took her son to the hospital. He had a deep gash above his eyebrow that needed stitches.

Mr. Brooks spoke roughly to Mrs. Ricciotti. He asked if she “had already made the determination” that her children were going to get run over. The state objected to his question as argumentative and she did not have to answer. He also asked why she didn’t seek medical attention for her son immediately, and she said that she had. She said her house was on the way to the hospital, so she dropped her other children off, so they wouldn’t have to wait.

Daniel Knapp remembered the parade noise changing from music and joyous shouts to screams of fear and terror. He turned to see why, and a red SUV pulled around a float and headed in his direction. He could see the driver, a black man. “The eyes were what drew me in, were completely wide open. I made eye contact with the individual driving the vehicle.”

Daniel Knapp

He realized the car was headed directly at the children. He saw the SUV strike his three-year-old daughter, Kelsey. She flew about 15 fifteen feet, landing in the intersection. He saw the SUV turning into the parade route, and ran to his daughter. Her face was very bloody and she looked confused and afraid. He picked her up and ran, checking with his wife to be sure everyone else was safe.

Mr. Knapp rushed Kelsey to the closest hospital. The child had a torn spleen, a broken nose, significant road rash and cuts on her face, and needed facial surgery.

Mr. Knapp identified the defendant as the driver of the SUV that struck his daughter.

Mr. Brooks tried to determine how far Mr. Knapp was from him when they locked eyes, in an attempt to show it was too far. He asked if Mr. Knapp was injured and Mr. Knapp said, “I was not physically injured.”

The judge learned of tornado warnings and abruptly decided to break for lunch at 11:38 a.m. When court resumed, she decided to cut the day short because of the weather. Mr. Brooks said he wanted to check on his family, and also was worried that the storm could interfere with equipment in the courtroom, such as the TV cameras. This suggests that it means a lot to Mr. Brooks that his performance is being broadcast.

The trial ended for Wednesday, with plans to stay longer today to make up for lost time.