Although 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 ended in different fashion.
Following 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.
The jury in the John H. Spooner trial, however, found Mr. Spooner guilty of first degree intentional homicide for the killing of Darius Simmons. After the jury verdict, Mr. Spooner raised an insanity defense, claiming that he suffered from a mental disease or defect at the time he shot Darius. After hearing from three experts, the jury determined that Mr. Spooner was not suffering from a mental disease or defect at the time he shot Darius. The sentencing for Mr. Spooner occurred on Monday, July 22, 2013. After listening to arguments from both the prosecution and the defense, the Court sentenced Mr. Spooner to life in prison. “There should never be any light in the tunnel for you,” Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey A. Wagner told Mr. Spooner. Although the Court could have given Mr. Spooner the opportunity to petition for supervised release after serving 20 years, the Court sentenced Mr. Spooner to life in prison without the opportunity of parole.
The Milwaukee civil rights attorneys of Samster, Konkel & Safran represent Patricia Larry, the mother of Darius Simmons, in her lawsuit against John H. Spooner. We will continue to work hard to ensure that there is justice for the death of Darius.