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Jury convicts John Spooner of killing teenage neighbor; insanity under consideration

MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - 76-year-old John Spooner was found guilty Wednesday afternoon of first-degree intentional homicide in the shooting death of his 13-year-old neighbor Darius Simmons last year.

Jurors deliberated for about an hour before issuing their verdict.

The court then went back into session to determine whether Spooner was insane when he killed Simmons.

If the jury said he was insane, Spooner would be sent to a mental institution instead of prison.

Jurors were given an option of convicting the man on a lesser charge of reckless homicide – but they stuck with the more serious intentional homicide count.

Spooner, who’s white, accused Simmons, who’s black, of stealing four of his guns a couple days before the murder.

The case has been compared to that of George Zimmerman in Florida, but the judge and attorneys said it’s a different premise, and they cautioned jurors not to make any comparisons.

Spooner’s attorney admitted the killing, but said it was not intentional – and his client could not tell right from wrong when he pulled the trigger. 

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