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Judge will decide next month if Spooner murder trial will have outside jury

A court gavel
A court gavel

MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - A judge in Milwaukee will hold a hearing December 21st on a request by a 76-year-old man to have a jury from outside the area hear his murder trial – if his case gets that far.

John Spooner is scheduled to go on trial January 14th for allegedly killing a 13-year-old neighbor over guns missing from the man’s home.

Spooner’s attorney says news coverage of the case inflamed public sentiment against his client, as shown by comments posted by readers to Internet news stories.

Prosecutors said Spooner killed 13-year-old Darius Simmons on May 31st while the teen was taking out his family’s garbage. Spooner has pleaded not guilty by insanity.

Spooner is white and Simmons was black – and groups that include Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow-PUSH Coalition have asked that Spooner be charged with a hate crime.

Also, Milwaukee’s Fire and Police Commission said it found problems with the way officers treated the victim’s mother, Patricia Larry, at the shooting scene. Larry has filed a wrongful death suit against Spooner.