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Mother Cries Over Deceased Son: Neighbor said “Put Your Hands Up” Then Shot Him

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Reported By: Britt L

In the month of May 2012, A Midwest Milwaukee boy was gunned down by his 76-year-old neighbor after he was accused of stealing his neighbors missing shotguns and looking “suspicious.”

The Caucasian next door neighbor, John Spooner, is charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the killing of Darius Simmons.

The Darius Simmons trial comes right in the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin Case. Trayvon Martin was a 17-year-old Florida boy who was gunned down by neighbor, George Zimmerman. Zimmerman was acquitted on all charges, and was let free by a six woman jury last Saturday.

John Spooner’s trial began Tuesday. Darius’ mother, Patricia Larry, was the star witness at the trial because she watched her young 13-year-old boy being killed while standing in the doorway of her home.

“As I turned around, Mr. Spooner was standing there in front of Darius,” Patricia Larry said. “He got a gun, and he pointed it at Darius.”

She said Spooner  demanded that Simmons put his hands up, and the 13-year-old complied. Larry said she asked Spooner why “he had that gun on (her) baby.”

Darius’ mother struggled to continue her testimony on the stand, holding back tears as she described the aftermath of the shooting.

“I ran off the porch to my son,” she said. “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.”

Patricia goes on to explain that her son was unarmed and did nothing to provoke Spooner’s reaction.

Jury selection was determined Monday for the trial. The main focus of deliberation was to eliminate potential jurors whose consideration of the case might be influenced by their reactions to the Zimmerman verdict. The jury was finalized, consisting of 12 people. 10 men and four women. One juror is African American.

There is no question that Spooner killed the 13-year-old, but there is dispute on his mental condition during the incident. Spooner confessed to shooting Simmons, saying  to police that he reached his “breaking point” after his house was burglarized two days prior to the murder. He suspected his teenage neighbor carried out the heist. When an officer asked who Spooner shot in an interrogation video, Spooner responded with, “I guess it was a 13-year-old boy.”

“The best piece of evidence you’re going to see in this case is the murder,” Assistant District Attorney Mark Williams said, referring to a videotape of the incident that left Simmons dead. “You’re going to see the terror in Darius’ face, and you’re going to see how cold-blooded and callous Mr. Spooner was.”

The prosecution displayed evidence of the incident in court Tuesday – a recording of the encounter between Spooner and the victim. Video can be watched here.

Spooner is expected to take the stand in his own defense Wednesday.