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Jury Delivers Guilty Verdict, Spooner Trial Heads into Second Phase

A Milwaukee jury on Wednesday convicted a 76-year-old man of first-degree homicide. John Spooner shot and killed his 13-year old next-door neighbor last year, after accusing the teen of stealing guns.  Now the trial moves into phase two – deciding the senior’s mental state at the time.  Spooner will spend the rest of his life either in prison or a mental institution.

His attorneys did not dispute the fact he shot the young teen.

A video recorded the event.

However, the 76-year-old is pleading incompetence, meaning his attorneys must now convince 10 of 12 jurors he was not sane at the time of the shooting.

Jonathan Safran spoke on behalf of Darius Simmons’ mother.

“She’s cautiously optimistic as we move into the second phase of this trial and she certainly believes as does her family that Mr. Spooner was sane at the time, and she hopes indeed that the jury will come to the same conclusion,” Safran says.

Several doctors are set to testify during the second phase.

The case has garnered national attention because of similarities to the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Florida. Both teenagers were black, unarmed and shot to death by white neighbors who said they were upset about crime.

LaToya was a reporter with WUWM from 2006 to 2021.