Have you heard about the story of 13-year-old Darius Simmons, an unarmed black boy who was SHOT AND KILLED by his 76-year-old white neighbor John Henry Spooner last year, and it was all caught on tape?
In May 2012, a mere three months after Trayvon Martin was killed by crazed neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman, a man from Milwaukee, Wisconsin did the same exact thing to another young black boy, who was just four years younger than Trayvon.
The man’s own surveillance cameras show him confronting the teen on a sidewalk outside their homes, waving a gun at him and firing into his chest from just a few feet away. The wounded teen clutches his chest and immediately flees from the cameras’ view before collapsing in the street, where his mother, according to her sworn testimony, held him as he took his last breath.
The shocking video footage was shown in court Tuesday as evidence in the trial of John Henry Spooner and was published on YouTube by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Simmons’ mother, Patricia Larry, testified in court on Tuesday that Spooner had accused her son of breaking into his home and stealing his guns. She said Spooner warned her to call 911, and also told her that he’d teach her son not to steal, then fired the shot that struck the boy in the chest. As the teen turns to flee, the video shows Spooner appearing to fire a second shot and eventually fades out.
The longer version of the video that was exhibited in court this week shows Larry running past Spooner in pursuit of her son. She testified that by the time she caught up to her son, he was lying on the ground and she could only feel a very faint pulse in his neck.
“Then I pulled his shirt up and I (saw) he had a bullet hole in his chest,” she said tearfully. “He took one more breath and that’s it.”
Spooner has been charged with first-degree, intentional homicide and could face life in prison if he is convicted, unless the jury determines that he is “mentally ill” and acquits him.
For what it’s worth, after the shooting, police searched Simmons’ home and didn’t find ANY of Spooner’s weapons.
More from the Associated Press:
The defense has conceded that Spooner fired the fatal bullet at Simmons as they argued on the sidewalk. But defense attorney Franklyn Gimbel said the two issues for the jury to decide are whether Spooner intended to kill the boy, and whether Spooner was suffering from mental illness that prevented him from knowing right from wrong at the time.
Richard Martinez, one of the Milwaukee police officers who responded after the shooting, testified that Spooner offered an unsolicited confession upon his arrest. Martinez said he ordered Spooner at gunpoint to drop his weapon and Spooner bent down and laid his handgun on the ground.
Martinez testified that he was handcuffing Spooner when Spooner said, “Yeah, I shot him,” referring to the teen. Martinez said Spooner had another bullet in his pocket. Martinez’s partner, Michael Urbaniak, testified that he and Martinez placed Spooner in the back of a squad car while they investigated the scene. While being detained, Spooner commented that he had reached his breaking point and that his house had been broken into two days earlier, Urbaniak said.
The officer said Spooner claimed he knew the culprits were the kids who lived next door, and that they were part of a black family that recently moved next door and had caused nothing but trouble. Spooner is white.
Prosecutors showed a video of police interrogating Spooner, in which he acknowledges shooting Simmons and said he did it because he wanted his guns back. He noted that he’d been burglarized on multiple occasions.
Larry, who has sat in the front row of the courtroom since the trial related to her son’s death began Monday, refused to watch the surveillance video. She stared straight ahead with moist eyes. Three jurors watched the video with their hands over their mouths.
Other police officers who testified included Lori Borchert, who responded to the burglary report two days earlier. She said two windows on Spooner’s home were broken and Spooner told her four shotguns were missing.
The day after the burglary, Spooner called Borchert and told her that his surveillance video captured images of the suspects. She said she viewed the video and that it showed two different black teenage males coming from the area of Simmons’ home and moving toward Spooner’s home.
She said she didn’t arrest anyone because there wasn’t enough probable cause. She said the faces on the video weren’t clear, and the teens didn’t appear to be holding any of the missing guns.
Gimbel, who limited his cross-examinations, told jurors during opening statements he intends to raise questions about whether Spooner actually had the requisite intent to commit homicide.
“We will focus on what was Mr. Spooner’s intent when he pointed the gun and pulled the trigger,” Gimbel said.
If only we had video footage of the night George Zimmerman chased down and killed Trayvon Martin…