Milwaukee Murder Defendant Won't Get Change of Venue

76 Year old John Spooner is charged with murder of 13 year old Darius Simmons


by Michele McCormack

MILWAUKEE-A judge has denied the request of an elderly murder defendant to take the trial out of Milwaukee.

The defense attorney for 76 year old John Spooner argued that the inflammatory pretrial publicity made it impossible for his client to get a fair trial.

13 year old Darius Simmons was fatally shot while taking out the trash.

There had been a long simmering dispute in the neighborhood after the defendant's home had been burglarized.

Defense attorney Frank Gimbel said some of the local media coverage drew unfair parallels to the Trayvon Martin case and tainted a potential jury pool.

"It had  been the subject matter of front page publicity," Gimbel explained, "where at least the journalists claimed to be similar in the Florida case where an African American teenager was shot by a white man protecting the condo association in Florida."

The case also gained national attention for the actions of the police that day who detained the victim's mother while her son lay dying.

A review later found that it was improper.

The victim's pastor was at the proceedings along with civil rights attorney Jon Safran who's representing the mother.

"Milwaukee has its share of race problems." Reverend Steve Jerbi told CBS 58, "but  this is not a racial issue. We cannot put the burden of racism on the shoulders of a little boy,."

A trial date has now been set for May 6Th.

Spooner faces up to life in prison if convicted.





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