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Testimony Begins in Trial of John Spooner who Killed his Teenage Neighbor

The mother of the 13-year-old victim of John Henry Spooner testified at Spooner’s trial on Tuesday.Patricia Larry says her son, Darius Simmons, ran into the street and collapsed after Spooner shot him. She says she held the teen, as he took his last breath.

Larry says Spooner thought her son was stealing items from his home, and told the teen that he would teach him not to steal, before shooting him.

A Milwaukee police officer also was on the stand on Tuesday. Officer Richard Martinez responded to the shooting, and testified that the 76-year-old Spooner admitted to shooting the teen.

Meanwhile, jurors viewed a surveillance video that appears to show Spooner shooting Simmons.

Spooner’s attorney acknowledges that Spooner fired the bullet that killed Simmons. But the attorney says Spooner did not intend to kill the teenager. The attorney says an expert will testify that Spooner has a mental illness, that prevented him from realizing that his actions were wrong.

Spooner is white and Simmons was black. As a result, some people are drawing comparisons to the racially charged trial of George Zimmerman in Florida.

Ann-Elise is WUWM's news director.