Spooner fired a second shot that missed. He tried to fire a third one but his gun jammed.
Darius’ mother, Patricia Larry, has a wrongful-death lawsuit pending against Spooner.
Police searched Darius’ home within hours of the shooting and didn’t find Spooner’s weapons.
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.
When prosecutor Mark Williams suggested Spooner killed Darius as revenge for having his guns stolen, Spooner replied, “I wouldn’t call it revenge. I would call it justice.”
Larry recalled those words from Spooner as she asked the judge to prevent him from ever being eligible for parole.
“I want him to be accountable for what he did to my son, Darius Simmons. I want him to have life in prison,” she said at Monday’s sentencing. “He showed no remorse and said justice was served. He is a menace to society.”
The sentencing came about a week after former neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman was acquitted in Florida in the February 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin, a black teen who was also unarmed. In the opening days of Spooner’s trial in Milwaukee, the judge told the jury pool to separate the two cases.
During the trial, race — Spooner is white and Darius was black — was almost never mentioned, except when Spooner referred to his surveillance footage from the day of the burglary. It showed two black teenage males walking near his house from the direction of Darius’ home. Their faces are difficult to identify and neither is carrying Spooner’s guns.