Zimmerman's Name Uttered in Wisconsin Murder Trial

Potential jurors specifically asked about that case

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 16, 2013 11:13 AM CDT

(Newser) – George Zimmerman's name is popping up again in court—this time in a murder trial in Wisconsin. John Spooner, a 76-year-old white man, is accused of shooting and killing unarmed neighbor Darius Simmons, a 13-year-old black boy, in a case that some are likening to Zimmerman's. (Spooner's lawyer disagrees, and says the only similarity was that the victims were both black teens.) Still, prosecutors and defense lawyers in the case both asked potential jurors if the Zimmerman verdict would affect their judgement, WTMJ reports. Said the judge to the jury pool, "You understand the facts aren't the same. It's a whole different case."

Spooner had accused Simmons of stealing guns. He questioned the boy on the sidewalk, then shot him in front of his mother, the criminal complaint says, per the AP. Ten men and four women were chosen for the jury; following arguments, two will be removed as alternates. With just one black person on the jury, prosecutors have called the selection unfair. Says the lawyer representing Simmons' mother: "There doesn’t seem to be evidence presented so far that it was racially motivated, but he certainly profiled him in some way." Defense lawyers are set to argue that Spooner didn't mean to kill Simmons and was mentally ill during the shooting. Spooner is charged with first-degree murder.

John Henry Spooner, 76, right, confers with his defense attorney Monday, July 15, 2013.
John Henry Spooner, 76, right, confers with his defense attorney Monday, July 15, 2013.   (AP Photo/Dinesh Ramde)
This file combination photo shows John Henry Spooner, left, and Darius Simmons' mother, Patricia Larry.
This file combination photo shows John Henry Spooner, left, and Darius Simmons' mother, Patricia Larry.   (AP Photos/File, Milwaukee County Sheriff's Dept./AP)
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