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Accused teenage killer Spooner to get mental competency exam

Judges gavel and stryker By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Judges gavel and stryker By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - A 76-year-old Milwaukee man who’s charged with killing a 13-year-old neighbor will get a mental exam to see if he’s competent to go on trial.

John Spooner had a hearing Monday before Circuit Judge Jeffrey Wagner. He’s accused of shooting and killing Darius Simmons last May.

Investigators said Spooner thought the youngster had stolen guns from the man’s home. Defense lawyer Steve McGaver had asked that a jury for Simmons’ trial come from elsewhere in Wisconsin, saying the publicity in Milwaukee makes it hard to have a fair trial.

But Judge Wagner disagreed and rejected the change of venue. McGaver also said Spooner might not be competent to proceed with his case – and Wagner ordered a mental health exam.

A hearing was set for June 4th to review the results. And the start of Spooner’s trial is being delayed until May 6th.

He has pleaded not guilty by insanity to a charge of first-degree intentional homicide. Spooner also faces a civil wrongful death suit from the victim’s mother.