Rejection of Insanity Defense at Murder of Darius Simmons Criminal Trial

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Even though some have compared the shooting of Darius Simmons by John H. Spooner and the shooting of Travon Martin by George Zimmerman, because both shootings involved criminal profiling and may have been racially motivated, the results of the trials for Mr. Spooner and Mr. Zimmerman reached different conclusions.

At the end of the George Zimmerman trial, the jury determined that Mr. Zimmerman was not guilty of either second degree murder or manslaughter for the killing of Travon Martin. By contrast, the jury in the John H. Spooner trial found Mr. Spooner guilty of first degree intentional homicide for the killing of Darius Simmons. Following the verdict, Mr. Spooner raised an insanity defense, claiming that he suffered from a mental disease or defect at the time he shot Darius. The jury heard from three experts, one selected by Mr. Spooner, one selected by the prosecution and one appointed by the Court. In addition, Mr. Spooner gave chilling testimony during this phase of the trial, revealing that he did not feel bad about shooting Darius and that he would have shot Darius’ brother if his gun had not jammed. Today, the jury reached a verdict that Mr. Spooner was not suffering from a mental disease or defect at the time he shot Darius. As a result of this verdict, Mr. Spooner will likely spend the rest of his life in prison. The sentencing for Mr. Spooner will take place on Monday, July 22, 2013 at 1:30 P.M.

The Milwaukee civil rights attorneys of Samster, Konkel & Safran represent Patricia Larry, the mother of Darius Simmons. We congratulate the jury for reaching a swift verdict in the John H. Spooner trial that provides some justice for death of Darius.

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