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Darrell Brooks' grandmother shares statement she will read during sentencing

"My prayer is that you will not be like the man who drank poison and hoped his enemy would die. Unforgiveness is a horrible disease just like mental illness."
Mary Darlene Edwards
Posted at 4:16 PM, Nov 14, 2022

UPDATE: Darrell Brooks' grandmother has updated her victim impact statement, to be read on Wednesday. Brooks' mother also released a victim impact statement. Get all the updates here.

WAUKESHA, Wis. — Nearly a year since driving his SUV through Waukesha's Christmas Parade, killing six people and hurting more than 60 others, Darrell Brooks will hear from his victims and learn his sentence.

Dozens of people are expected to speak over the next two days before the judge hands down Brooks' punishment. One of those speaking in Brooks' favor is his grandmother, Mary Darlene Edwards.

RELATED: Darrell Brooks' sentencing: Hearing about victims, not defendant, says criminal defense attorney

Edwards, 80, has requested to speak remotely over Zoom. Edwards shared her remarks for the court with TMJ4 News, which focuses on raising awareness for mental health issues.

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Mary Darlene Edwards and Darrell Brooks

"My prayer is that you will not be like the man who drank poison and hoped his enemy would die," Edwards' statement says in part. "Unforgiveness is a horrible disease just like mental illness"

Edwards says Brooks has lived with bipolar disorder since he was 12 years old. She emphasized he needs "help and not punishment."

According to her statement, Edwards became a certified mental health coach following the parade tragedy.

Mary Darlene Edwards
Dozens of people are expected to speak over the next two days before the judge hands down Darrell Brooks' punishment. One of those speaking is Brooks' favor is his grandmother, Mary Darlene Edwards.

"Without hesitation, I will support this effort and do everything I can to help those struggling with mental health issues," Edwards' statement reads.

Brooks' mother has also requested to speak remotely over Zoom.

Brooks was convicted on six counts of intentional homicide. Each carries a mandatory life sentence. Judge Jennifer Dorow has the discretion to allow eligibility for parole. She must also rule on 70 other counts after the victims have their say in court.

You can read Mary Darlene Edwards' full remarks below:

"My name is Dr. Mary Darlene Edwards. I am the grandmother of Darrell Edward Brooks, Jr. I asked to be here today for two reasons.

First, from the bottom of my heart, I want to offer my sincere apology to the families of those who have lost their precious grandmothers, the family of the little boy, and to all whose lives have been damaged by this overwhelming tragedy, a tragedy caused by my grandson. As a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I want to give you this promise from the scriptures, “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.”

My prayer is that you will not be like the man who drank poison and hoped his enemy would die. Unforgiveness is a horrible disease just like mental illness.

Truly, there have been many losses because of this tragedy. Darrell’s mother has lost a son. I have lost a grandson. Darrell’s children have lost a father. And Darrell has lost his mind and his life in the outside world.

When you look at Darrell, you see a monster. I can understand that. However, when I look at Darrell I see a grandson whom I love, who is a deeply troubled soul… and who needs help. Sadly, I have more than one generation of bipolar people in my family. More than once, I have heard them say, “People just won’t listen to us.” I believe my grandson’s behavior, including his voice, should get the attention of the powers that be, near and far, to address mental health issues in ways that will make a critical difference. Truly, we must start with the younger generations. Darrell has lived with bipolar disorder since the age of 12 and that disorder drove his impulses. It is my prayer that he be treated for this illness and managed in a facility that addresses mental health concerns. That he will receive help and not punishment.

Finally, I am 80 years old and have been an ordained minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for 47 of those 80 years. God has used my life to revitalize an entire community on the eastside of Detroit called “Ravendale.” For this work, I have received a “Thousand Points of Light Award” (107th) from former President George H. W. Bush, Sr. This work was done under the leadership of my late husband, Rev. Eddie K. Edwards. I share this information, not to boast, but rather to let you know I care about people and their wellbeing. My work can be viewed in the Legacy Library at the University of Michigan.

Presently, there is a church in Detroit planning to establish a mental health clinic in the Ravendale Community, honoring Rev. Edwards and myself. Without hesitation, I will support this effort and do everything I can to help those struggling with mental health issues. I also have now become a certified mental health coach since this great tragedy.

It is my prayer and my belief that God will hear the cries of all impacted by this terrible tragedy. It is also my prayer that He will hear the cries of the mentally ill. Again, it is my prayer that Darrell Edward Brooks, Jr. will get help and not punishment.

Thank you."

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