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 (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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