WAUKESHA, Wis. (WFRV) – The man found guilty of driving through a Waukesha Christmas Parade was sentenced on Wednesday afternoon in Waukesha County Court.

Judge Jennifer R. Dorow sentenced 40-year-old Darrell Brooks to life behind bars without the opportunity for parole.

The sentencing comes one day after hearing from dozens of victims who were hurt or saw their loved ones killed or injured. These victims unleashed raw emotions and anger in court Tuesday as they begged the judge to put Brooks away for life.

Brooks told Dorow in remarks that rambled past two hours that he grew up fatherless, poor, and hungry in apartment buildings infested with rats and bugs.

Brooks said he has dealt with mental health issues for as long as he can remember and was physically abused, though he didn’t say by whom.

At times he took medication and did short stints in mental health facilities, and life was better then, he said.

“People are going to, like I said, believe what they want, and that’s OK. This needs to be said: What happened on Nov. 21, 2021, was not, not, not an attack. It was not planned, plotted,” Brooks said, adding later: “This was not an intentional act. No matter how many times you say it over and over, it was not.”

Brooks also offered his first apology to the victims and their families.

“I want you to know that not only am I sorry for what happened, I’m sorry that you could not see what’s truly in my heart,” he said. “That you cannot see the remorse that I have.”

But Brooks didn’t explain his motive or offer any other insights into his thoughts as he turned the SUV into the parade. When Dorow asked what sentence he thought he should get, he didn’t answer directly but said: “I just want to be helped.”

Brooks’ mother and grandmother tried to persuade Dorow to place Brooks in a mental institution rather than prison. His grandmother, Mary Edwards, said Brooks has been bipolar since he was 12, and that disorder caused him to drive into the parade.

His mother, Dawn Woods, pushed Dorow to ensure that Brooks receives treatment in prison.

“If they have to stay for the rest of their lives away from society, at least they’re getting the help they need to become mentally well,” Woods said. Brooks appeared to weep as his mother spoke.

Brooks drove his red Ford Escape through the parade in downtown Waukesha on Nov. 21, 2021, after getting into a fight with his ex-girlfriend.

Six people were killed, including an 8-year-old boy marching with his baseball team and three members of a group known as the Dancing Grannies. Scores of others were injured.

A jury convicted Brooks last month of 76 charges, including six counts of first-degree intentional homicide and 61 counts of reckless endangerment.