|Darius Simmons, 13|
|Patricia Larry, mother of Darius|
Zimmerman, a wannabe cop, followed Trayvon, apparently knowing he had no right or authority to question him. The 911 dispatcher told Zimmerman to stay in his truck and not approach Trayvon because the police was on the way. Zimmerman refused, taking matters into his own hands.
Unlike the mother of 13-year-old Darius Simmons, Trayvon’s parents did not witness the shooting death of their son. Fulton and Martin did not watch Trayvon take his last breath before dying while lying in the street, a block from his house.
|John Henry Spooner|
According to the Wisconsin Journal Sentinel the day Larry testified she said, "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, 76, demanded that Simmons put his hands up. The 13-year-old complied. Larry said she asked the defendant why "he had that gun on (her) baby."
"He told Darius that he's going to teach him not to steal," she said. "And he shot him."
Spooner, who is white, is charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the killing of Simmons, his black teenage neighbor. If convicted, he faces life in prison — unless the jury finds him not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect."
Larry continued, struggling to choke back tears as she described the aftermath of the shooting.
|John Spooner caught on his home surveillance camera confronting Darius Simmons before shooting him point blank in the chest|
Larry said her son was unarmed and did nothing to provoke Spooner.
This tragedy took place because Spooner’s house had been burglarized two days before the shooting. He suspected Simmons and his brother Theodore Larry of breaking into his house, stealing four shotguns. Larry allowed the police to search her house within hours of the shooting. No guns were found.
When 18-year-old Theodore Larry testified he described what he witnessed on the morning of May 31, 2012. Larry said he came downstairs to find his mother in the frame of their front door. “Spooner was on the sidewalk pointing a gun at the doorway.”
The Wisconsin Journal Sentinel wrote that Larry said, “He ran out the back and found his brother lying on the curb around the block. He crying as he took his lifeless brother in his arms.”
The bullet fired at Simmons chest exited his back. The shooting was caught on a home surveillance camera that Spooner had installed to catch the burglars. The video was shown at his trial as evidence. Spooner said he shot Simmons because he wanted him to return his shotguns.
On the video Darrius Simmons is seen retrieving a trash can from the curb, and then walking back towards his house. Spooner is seen confronting the teen, pointing a gun at him. Simmons appeared to comply with Spooner’s demand. Simmons was shot point blank in the chest, after which the teen turned and ran.
“I’ve never seen my mom like that,” Theodore Larry recalled on the witness stand. “My mom told me (Spooner) had shot my little brother. She said, ‘You ain’t going out there.’”
“Milwaukee Police Officer Michael Uraniak testified that the defendant made several statements to him at the scene of the shooting, including that ‘they are going to throw the book at me because I shot the kid’, and commenting on his poor health, saying, ‘I really don’t have much longer to live on this Earth.’”
When he testified in his own defense, Spooner said the shooting was justified.
The Wisconsin Journal Sentinel wrote, “Spooner testified at trial against his attorney's advice and said he killed the teen because he really wanted his guns back. He also acknowledged wanting to kill Darius' older brother when he ran to his sibling's aid as he lay dying in the street. But Spooner said he didn't shoot the brother because he didn't want to hit any of the others who had gathered around.”
Spooner said, “They had to rob the house. Why’d they do that to me? They pushed me over the edge, I guess. I don’t know. As far as being sorry, I don’t know if I did right or wrong.”
Judge Jeffrey Wagner told Spooner that what he had done was wrong. “You took the life of a child.”
Spooner attempted to shot at the fleeing teenager two more times. He missed the second time, and the gun jammed on the third attempt. A court appointed psychiatrist testified that Spooner has "anger issues."
A 12 member jury found Spooner guilty first degree intentional homicide. He was sentenced to life in prison. Patricia Larry has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Spooner. The guilty verdict was handed down less than a week after George Zimmerman was acquitted by a six member jury for killing Trayvon Martin.