Jury: Wis. man sane when he killed teen neighbor

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A jury says a Milwaukee man who fatally shot his teenage neighbor whom he suspected of burglary was not insane when he pulled the trigger.

The same jury convicted 76-year-old John Henry Spooner on Wednesday of first-degree intentional homicide. That verdict led to a second phase of the trial in which jurors were asked to determine whether he was mentally ill at the time.

They agreed Friday that he was sane when he killed 13-year-old Darius Simmons.

Two doctors testified that Spooner's anger issues and aggressive impulses didn't constitute a mental defect.

Spooner has said he killed Darius because he thought the boy had broken into his home and stolen $3,000 worth of guns. Police searched Darius' home and didn't find the weapons.

Spooner now faces a mandatory life sentence.
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MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A jury has reached a verdict about whether a Milwaukee man was mentally ill when he killed his teenage neighbor last year after accusing the boy of stealing his guns.

The jury already convicted 76-year-old John Henry Spooner of first-degree intentional homicide. They're about to announce a verdict Friday about whether he was mentally ill when he pulled the trigger.

If he's found sane, he'll face a mandatory life sentence. Otherwise he could face life in a mental institution.

Spooner testified that he killed 13-year-old Darius Simmons because he wanted "justice" for his stolen guns. Police searched Darius' home but didn't find the weapons.

Defense attorney Franklyn Gimbel says his client didn't realize his actions were wrong.

Prosecutor Mark Williams counters that Spooner was just angry, not mentally ill.


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