Man accused of mowing down 4, including young children, at Wisconsin church parade released on $500,000 bail

Online records posted Thursday indicate the Waukesha, Wis., man accused of mowing down a crowd at a church parade last weekend has been released on $500,000 bail.

Attorneys for the defendant, James P. Burnett, 21, initially sought $1 million bail for him, which was returned and increased by the judge to $1 million. Prosecutors also requested that Burnett be barred from using alcohol or drugs.

Burnett, of Grafton, faces six counts of first-degree reckless homicide and two counts of first-degree reckless injury in connection with the 1 a.m. crash Saturday on State Highway 14 in Prairie du Chien. Prosecutors are also seeking attempted first-degree intentional homicide charges.

The accident killed four young children and a grandmother and seriously injured 26 others. Eleven people remain hospitalized, with several still in intensive care.

Burnett reportedly broke a driving record after a previous traffic stop. A court officer said his license was revoked and he was found in possession of more than a dozen pieces of prescription drugs, according to a local newspaper.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel first reported details about Burnett’s alleged driving record.

What is clear is that Burnett and his uncle, Michael Smith, live in a furnished three-bedroom house in Grafton, Waukesha County, online court records show. The two reportedly sold the home to a third family in Wisconsin in 2012 for $62,500, according to papers filed to terminate the tenancy.

A relative of Smith told the newspaper that he had no comment about Burnett’s release.

“We’re trying to move on with our lives,” the relative, who did not want to be identified, said in an interview with the Journal Sentinel.

John Park, Waukesha County administrator, confirmed that Burnett has been released from the Waukesha County Jail on a bond of $500,000.

Park said in an email to The Washington Post that Burnett’s release “goes above and beyond” the standard range. “The release requires him to make sure he is on GPS monitoring and stay sober,” Park said.

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