Stunning Testimony in Murder of Darius Simmons Criminal Trial

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While 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, Mr. Spooner and Mr. Zimmerman made different decisions as to whether to testify at their trials.

Fireworks erupted during the George Zimmerman trial when the judge asked Mr. Zimmerman if he would testify during the trial. Mr. Zimmerman’s lawyer objected to the judge’s question, but was overruled. Mr. Zimmerman ultimately decided not to testify at his trial.

By contrast, John H. Spooner decided to testify during the second phase of his trial, where the jury must decide whether Mr. Spooner suffered from a mental disease or defect when he shot Darius Simmons. A stunned courtroom listened as Mr. Spooner described the shooting. “I wouldn’t call it revenge, I would call it justice.” Mr. Spooner said, stating his erroneous belief that Darius stole his guns. Mr. Spooner also believes that Darius’s brother was involved, stating that, if his gun had not jammed, he would have shot Darius’ brother as well. When asked if he felt bad for shooting Darius, Mr. Spooner stated “not that bad.”

Deborah Collins, a psychologist appointed by the prosecution, also testified yesterday, stating her opinion that John H. Spooner was not suffering from a mental disease or defect when he shot Darius Simmons. Dr. Collins said that, while Mr. Spooner was “seething in anger” when he shot Darius, he was mentally sane. The second phase of the trial continues today, as Dr. Collins continues her testimony and a court-appointed expert will also testify that Mr. Spooner was not suffering a mental disease or defect when he shot Darius. Please continue to follow our website and our blog for updates on the trial.

The Milwaukee civil rights attorneys of Samster, Konkel & Safran represent Patricia Larry, the mother of Darius Simmons, in her wrongful death lawsuit against John H. Spooner for the murder of her son.

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