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Judge rules Spooner mentally competent to stand trial in fatal shooting

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Gavel & Stryker, made from Cherry & Ash, sold to Whitney Hoffman. By KeithBurtis (Flickr: Gavel & Stryker) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Gavel & Stryker, made from Cherry & Ash, sold to Whitney Hoffman. By KeithBurtis (Flickr: Gavel & Stryker) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - A judge in Milwaukee ruled Monday morning that a 76-year-old man is mentally able to help with his own defense, on charges that he killed a 13-year-old neighbor.

A mental health expert testified that John Spooner is competent to stand trial for the shooting death of young Darius Simmons last May.

Spooner faces a homicide charge, after he suspected that the boy stole a number of guns from the man’s home.

Defense lawyer Franklyn Gimbel said he’s concerned that Spooner’s health has gotten so bad, he might not make it until May 6th when his trial is scheduled.

The next court hearing is scheduled for March 28th.

A pastor for the victim’s family, the Reverend Steve Jerbi, said the competency ruling is what the family expected.

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