Prosecutors have announced that they will conduct an internal review into the prosecution process in the case of Darrell Brooks, an African American man accused of shooting 14 young children and their father at an east side Milwaukee church.
Chief deputy district attorney Kent Lovern said that the case “did not meet the standards set out in the criminal code for how bail is set” for Brooks, who is charged with 14 counts of first-degree intentional homicide.
Lovern said that Brooks had been in jail on cash bail without a recognizance bond for two months after his first arrest. At the time of his bail hearing on Thursday, his attorney, Thomas Shields, pointed out that the previous bail of $2,500 had been revoked and he was held again without recognizance bond.
Prosecutors argued that without a recognizance bond, Brooks should remain in jail. Shields had sought a $100,000 bond.
Lovern said that an internal review, now being conducted by the police department, was being done “as quickly as possible”, but that he was unable to say when a decision would be made.
Brooks, 37, who told police at the scene he was looking for his estranged wife, is accused of shooting the young children, 12 of whom are siblings, as well as their father, the pastor of the church. Twelve of the children were between the ages of four and 12, and the other was just a baby.
Brooks had been charged with 15 counts of first-degree intentional homicide and was being held on bail of $5m.
During the bail hearing, the prosecution argued that, without a recognizance bond, he would be “free to run and on the loose”. Lovern noted that the State did not file charges “until the warrant for him had expired”.
Shields had argued that Brooks was “not a flight risk” and had two homes, one in Milwaukee and one in the countryside. Lovern said that several properties were involved in the charging documents filed against Brooks, but Shields noted that both wanted to make sure that Brooks was in custody “at all times”.
A jury of six men and six women would be empanelled to decide Brooks’ fate, following trial. In Wisconsin, capital charges such as these involve “the taking of lives”. Brooks would face the death penalty if convicted.
In Waukesha, where the church was on 7 December, Brooks faced less than a decade behind bars. His bail was revoked and he was sentenced to jail for contempt of court for failing to appear at the first proceeding to hear charges against him.
Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr, who has charged with harassment, and ordered him jailed Thursday, is often called upon to manage cases similar to this one, because of his work in the court system.