By: Taren Vaughan
Darius Simmons death leads to first-degree murder charge. The outcome of the Trayvon Martin case is still fresh on people’s minds as those who were involved in the trial are now speaking out. The trial verdict has not only led to protests and marches in various states and a boycott of Florida businesses, but it has also brought more attention to other cases in Florida related to the “Stand Your Ground” law the state has in place as many people feel as though the law only benefits certain people and needs to be scrapped altogether. George Zimmerman may have gotten away with murdering an innocent 17-year-old boy, but people are coming together to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again. The incident involving the 76-year-old man who shot and killed his unarmed, African American 13-year-old neighbor in Milwaukee, Wisconsin has drawn many comparisons to the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case. The man has now been found guilty of intentional homicide and plans to plead insanity to dodge time in prison, NY Daily News reports:
The Milwaukee County jury took less than two hours to decide the first-degree charge against John Spooner in the death of Darius Simmons.
The May 31, 2012, shooting was caught on surveillance video taken from Spooner’s home — providing startling evidence favoring the prosecution.
The jury’s finding now opens up a second phase to the trial, which allows defense attorney Franklyn Gimbel to argue that his client is not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Earlier, Gimbel said in court that Spooner shouldn’t be acquitted outright.
“This is not a case for a not-guilty verdict,” he said. “Reckless homicide is a more appropriate description of what John Spooner did.”
Darius Simmons’ mother Patricia Larry gave her testimony on Tuesday and recalled what John Spooner said to her son before he fatally shot the young boy:
“He told Darius that he’s going to teach him not to steal,” Patricia Larry said from the stand, the Journal Sentinel reported. “And he shot him.”
John Spooner’s attorneys did admit he shot Darius as the teenager was confronted by Spooner as he was taking out the trash one morning. John Spooner’s mental state at the time of the shooting is still in question and the long-time resident of the neighbor had been robbed before as he was said to have reached his “breaking point.” Spooner accused Darius of stealing from him and when Darius denied it, Spooner shot him in the chest. Darius ran around the corner and collapsed with Spooner firing a second shot at him.
Patricia Larry describes how she reacted after her son was shot:
“I ran off the porch to my son,” Simmons’s emotional mother testified. “I checked for a pulse. I checked both of his wrists. He didn’t have a pulse so I went to his neck, and it was very faint … I pulled up his shirt and I could see that he had a bullet hole.”
Unlike George Zimmerman, John Spooner couldn’t claim he acted out of self-defense because the whole incident was caught on surveillance cameras. On the footage, Spooner is captured threatening Darius and shooting the scared teenager:
“The best piece of evidence you’re going to see in this case is the murder,” Assistant District Attorney Mark Williams said at trial. “You’re going to see the terror in Darius’ face, and you’re going to see how cold-blooded and callous Mr. Spooner was.”
Police responding to the scene said Spooner gave up without a fight and admitted the shooting.
“They are going to throw the book at me because I shot the kid,” Spooner said, according to an officer who testified.
“I really don’t have much longer to live on this Earth,” the old man told officers.