MILWAUKEE (AP) — A 75-year-old Milwaukee man was ordered to stand trial and pleaded not guilty Monday in the fatal shooting of his 13-year-old neighbor.
John Henry Spooner, who is charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the May 31 killing of Darius Simmons, waived his right for a preliminary hearing.
The white-haired Spooner, wearing black-rimmed glasses and an orange jail jumpsuit, said little during Monday's 2-minute hearing.
Authorities say that on the day Darius was shot, Spooner confronted the teen outside their homes and accused him of taking part in a recent break-in at his house. Spooner said several of his possessions — including shotguns — had been stolen and he demanded that Darius return them. Darius, whose family had only moved in next door a month earlier, said he didn't have Spooner's property. At this point, authorities say, Spooner shot the teenager in the chest, in full view of Darius' mother, Patricia Larry.
Witnesses said Spooner then paced up and down the sidewalk until the police arrived. A criminal complaint says Spooner admitted to the arresting office that he had shot the teen.
Spooner's attorney, Frank Gimbel, said his client had not been not in a position to confess to any charges.
"When a lay person says they are guilty of a crime they really are not speaking with an understanding of what the particulars of the crimes that are charged are and, in this case, first-degree intentional homicide requires some very specific ingredients to be a conviction," he said. "They are not in this case, as far as I'm concerned."
The judge set a scheduling conference for June 20.
Before the proceedings began, Spooner could be heard chatting with Gimbel about his health in full view of the gallery where Larry and other members of Simmons' family sat.
Tavis Grant, national field director for Jesse Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition, told reporters that the family was planning to pursue federal hate crimes charges against Spooner. Darius was black and Spooner is white.
The Department of Justice and the District Attorney's office did not immediately respond to calls and emails Monday seeking comment on the possibility of federal charges in the case.
"His color, his race, his ethnicity is enough," Grant said, adding that Spooner's behavior in court was inappropriate.
"You would think that someone (who is) 75 years old, who has lost a wife, has gone through cancer, would show some remorse, show some regret, show some disappointment, show some sign for the loss of this mother," he said.
The day Darius was shot and killed, police grilled his mother for two hours and left the family's house in disarray after scouring it in vain for the shotguns. They also arrested one of Darius' brothers for a year-old truancy violation. Mayor Tom Barrett has promised an investigation into how police treated Larry.
Simmons was buried on Saturday after a funeral attended by many public officials, including Barrett.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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