Waukesha Christmas parade suspect’s attorneys change plea, claiming mental health issues played a role in the tragedy

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CNN
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Attorneys of the man accused of driving an SUV through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, changed his plea in court Monday, saying mental health issues played a role in the crash.

Darrell Brooks, 40, originally pleaded not guilty to several counts of first-degree intentional homicide after the November 21, 2021, tragedy that left six people dead and more than 60 others injured.

His attorneys have now entered a special plea of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect, requesting an evaluation by a doctor. Waukesha County Judge Jennifer Dorow said the court will appoint doctors to evaluate Brooks.

Dorow indicated she will select doctors proposed by the state prosecution and defense teams. She will reserve whether a third doctor is necessary.

Brooks’ attorneys – Jeremy Perri and Anna Kees – also filed a motion Monday requesting the trial be moved, claiming he would not get a fair trial due to the amount of media attention surrounding the case. Brooks’ attorneys also claimed a number of potential jurors were personally impacted by the case and could not be admissible in court.

CNN has reached out to Brooks’ attorneys for comment, but has yet to receive a response.

Dorow announced Monday that a change of venue is not required, but did grant Brooks a sequestered jury. In her decision, Dorow emphasized the county of Waukesha is not the city of Waukesha, citing 2021 census data that shows Waukesha County is home to over 400,000 people, while the city of Waukesha has a population of over 71,000.

Brooks’ trial is scheduled to begin October 3, according to Waukesha County court records.

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