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NEW INFORMATION: Wis. man found guilty in fatal shooting of teen

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A 76-year-old Milwaukee man has been found guilty of fatally shooting his 13-year-old neighbor whom he suspected of burglary.

A jury on Wednesday convicted John Henry Spooner of first-degree intentional homicide. He was charged with shooting Darius Simmons in the chest last year after accusing the teen of breaking into his home and stealing weapons.

The guilty verdict wraps up the first half of the trial. Spooner had pleaded insanity, so the defense now must prove that Spooner was suffering from mental illness at the time of the shooting that prevented him from knowing right from wrong.

In this second phase, the burden of proof shifts to the defense.

Spooner's attorney, Franklyn Gimbel, says he has an expert who will testify that Spooner was mentally incompetent at the time.
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MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The mother of a Milwaukee teen gunned down last year by his 76-year-old neighbor says she held her boy in the street as he took his final breath.

Patricia Larry testified Tuesday in the trial of John Henry Spooner. He's charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the death of 13-year-old Darius Simmons.

She says Spooner accused her son of burglary. She says he told Simmons he'd teach the boy not to steal, and then shot him.

Larry says her wounded son fled into the street, and when she ran to where he collapsed he only had a light pulse. She says she pulled his shirt up and saw a bullet hole in his chest.

Spooner's defense attorney concedes that Spooner killed Simmons but says the issue is whether he had intent to kill.
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MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A Milwaukee police officer testifying in the trial of a man accused of killing his 13-year-old neighbor says the man offered an unsolicited confession as he was being handcuffed.

Officer Richard Martinez testified Tuesday that he responded to a report of a shooting in May 2012. He says he saw 76-year-old John Henry Spooner standing on the sidewalk holding a handgun.

He says he told Spooner to drop the weapon, and Spooner bent over and placed the gun on the sidewalk. Martinez says as he handcuffed him, Spooner said, "Yeah I shot him."

The victim was Spooner's next-door neighbor, Darius Simmons.

Spooner's defense attorney acknowledges his client shot the boy, whom he accused of stealing from him. But he says the questions at trial will be Spooner's intent and mental illness.


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