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Jury: Spooner to get prison time for killing teenage neighbor

MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - A jury in Milwaukee ruled Friday that John Spooner should spend the rest of his life in prison for killing his 13-year-old neighbor.

The jurors determined that the 76-year-old Spooner knew what he was doing when he shot and killed Darius Simmons in May of last year.

Spooner was convicted on Wednesday of homicide, but his sanity at the time was still in question.

Prosecutor Mark Williams said Spooner was the state’s best witness when he testified that justice was served when he shot Simmons, after accusing the teen of stealing four of his guns.

In the final testimony Friday morning, court-appointed psychologist Robert Rawski said Spooner knew what he was thinking when he shot Simmons – and decided not to kill the victim’s brother because it might have endangered others around him.

Defense lawyer Franklyn Gimbel argued Spooner’s previous mental lapses showed how instable he was – such as the times he tried strangling his wife, and killed a kitten his daughter brought home.

Had the jury ruled that Spooner was insane, he would have been sent to a mental institution for life.

Instead, he’s going to prison – and Judge Jeffrey Wagner can set a date for a possible supervised release. No date was immediate set for Spooner’s sentencing. 

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