Mother Testifies in Trial of Next-Door Neighbor Who Killed Her Son

Patricia Larry, whose 13-year-old son was shot and killed by their 76-year-old neighbor John Henry Spooner, who thought the boy was stealing a gun, testified yesterday in Spooner's trial.

Larry recounts how Spooner shot her son, Darius Simmons, directly in front of their home. Spooner, a 76-year-old white man, shot Simmons, a 13-year-old black teen because he says he suspected the teen had broken into his home and stolen a gun.

Spooner shot the young man in his chest in front of Larry. Simmons was unarmed and Larry says he did nothing to provoke the shooter. Yesterday, she spoke to the jury:

"I turned around, Mr. Spooner was standing there in front of Darius. He got a gun, and he pointed it at Darius." Larry said she inquired why "he had that gun on (her) baby. He told Darius that he's going to teach him not to steal. And he shot him."

Spooner is charged with first-degree, intentional homicide. He will face life in prison if he is convicted, unless the jury determines that mental disease was a factor and acquits him. The defense is also attempting to argue the Spooner did not intend to kill Simmons.

Like the Zimmerman-Martin case, this situation involves a gun-toter who acts as judge and executioner. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that jury selection for the trial attempted to eliminate jurors who might have been influenced by the Zimmerman verdict.

[Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, image of John Henry Spooner and Patricia Larry via AP]