Jury finds John Spooner mentally competent
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. It took just 15 minutes for the jury to come to a verdict after they began deliberations.
Spooner's defense attorney, Franklyn Gimbel, argued in court the senior citizen didn't understand his own actions. "He had no sense of how outrageously wrong his reaction was to this environment that brought him to shoot this boy." said Gimbel.
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. After the trial had ended, Simmons' mother, Patricia Larry, said she was pleased with the verdict.
"Justice was served," she said.