Regional
4:12 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Spooner Tells Court He Killed Teen to Serve Justice

John H. Spooner took the witness stand Thursday afternoon - against the advice of his attorney, and testified he shot 13-year-old Darius Simmons to exact justice, not revenge.

Spooner said he was upset that several young people had stolen guns from his home and wanted them back. The 76-year-old told the court he snapped and shot the boy, when Simmons' mother came outside and announced she was calling 9-1-1. A video showed Spooner confronting the teen on the sidewalk. They were next door neighbors.

Spooner also told the court he did not feel that bad about shooting the 13-year-old and would have shot his brother too.

On Wednesday, a jury convicted Spooner of first-degree homicide. During this second phase, jurors are supposed to determine whether the 76-year-old was mentally competent at the time.

The judge recessed the trial for several hours Thursday, after  defense attorney Franklyn Gimbel said his client was not mentally able to continue. A psychiatrist evaluated Spooner, and the judge decided the trial could continue.