John Henry Spooner, a 76 year old man accused of fatally shooting an unarmed teenager was yesterday sentenced to life in prison.
His sentencing comes after going on to tell the court that he had killed 13 year old Darius Simmons because he sought justice after he believed the boy responsible for having stolen his shotguns.
At the time of the shooting, caught on Spooner’s home surveillance cameras, the boy had gone on to deny stealing the shotguns after being confronted by Spooner.
Unsatisfied with the teenager’s answer, John Henry Spooner then went on to shoot the boy in the chest, who at the time was standing in front of his mother outside of John Henry Spooner’s house.
In sentencing Spooner to life after he was found guilt of first degree intentional homicide last week, the presiding judge, Judge Jeffrey Wagner declined the possibility of parole after 20 years after citing Spooner’s lack of remorse and desire to kill the teen’s brother.
Told John Henry Spooner to the court: ‘They had to rob the house. Why’d they do that to me? … They pushed me over the edge, I guess.
‘I don’t know. As far as being sorry, I don’t know if I did right or wrong.’
Went on to reply Judge Jeffrey Wagner: ‘I can tell you, you did wrong. You took the life of a child.’
During the trial, the defense had gone on to argue that the killing might have been reckless but not intentional, and that Spooner hadn’t meant for the shot to be fatal.
The UK’s dailymail goes on to note during the trial, Spooner testified against his attorney’s advice that 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.’
Told the boy’s mother, Patricia Larry who is thought to now be pursuing a wrongful death suit against John Henry Spooner:
‘I want him to be accountable for what he did to my son, Darius Simmons. I want him to have life in prison.
‘He showed no remorse and said justice was served. He is a menace to society.’
The case went on to procure widespread commentary that the killing was inspired by racism, whilst other commentators have reflected that race had little to do with the crime except an old man’s sense of entitlement that he seek his version of revenge irrespective of the race or class of the victim, a view that many African Americans find hard to accept in a society that often denigrates them and judges them first before questions are asked….