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John Spooner could find out sentence Friday

MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - John Spooner could find out Friday whether he’ll go to prison or a mental institution, for killing his 13-year-old neighbor in Milwaukee.

His sanity trial took some bizarre turns Thursday when he asked the judge to speak directly to the jury, and was turned down. Then, his lawyer said the 76-year-old Spooner was mentally unfit to continue with the trial.

Judge Jeffrey Wagner ordered an impromptu mental exam.

Later in the day, Wagner ruled that Spooner was competent enough for the trial to proceed – and against the advice of his legal team, the defendant testified on his own behalf.

Spooner said, “something snapped” just before he shot and killed Darius Simmons in May of last year. He said he would have also shot Simmons’ brother had his gun not jammed.

Spooner believed the victim stole four of his guns a short time before the murder. The defendant called the shooting “justice,” not “revenge.” Spooner said he wanted the guns back, because they were a big part of his life.

On Wednesday, he was convicted of first-degree intentional homicide. A court-appointed psychiatrist is expected to be the trial’s final witness Friday.

Closing arguments and jury deliberations will follow. Only 10 of the 12 jurors need to agree that Spooner was insane for him to get a mental commitment instead of prison. 

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