Wrongful death suit filed in Wis. boy's shooting

July 5, 2012 - 11:36 AM
Teen Fatally Shot Milwaukee

FILE - This file combination photo shows Particia Larry, right, on June 2, 2012, in MIlwaukee, holding a picture of her son son Darius Simmons, 13, and John Henry Spooner, left, 75, in a photo provided by the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department. Larry has filed a wrongful death suit against Spooner and wants an order to prevent him from disposing of his assets. Spooner has pleaded not guilty to a first-degree intentional homicide charge in the May 31 shooting of Darius Simmons. (AP Photos/File, Milwaukee County Sheriff's Dept./AP)

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The family of a 13-year-old boy who was fatally shot outside his Milwaukee home has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the 75-year-old suspect and wants an order to prevent the man from disposing of his assets.

John Spooner has pleaded not guilty to a first-degree intentional homicide charge in the May 31 killing of Darius Simmons. Prosecutors say Spooner accused the boy of stealing his guns then shot him in the chest when he denied it.

Simmons' mother, Patricia Larry, who witnessed the shooting, sued Spooner and his home insurer last week in Milwaukee County. The lawsuit cites claims for battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress and seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

Larry's attorney, Jonathan Safran, sought a temporary restraining order to prevent Spooner or his family from disposing of his assets because Spooner's house was listed for sale, and family members or other agents for Spooner had been seen removing personal property from the house.

The house was listed at $23,000, cash offers only.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports (http://bit.ly/NmuC6P ) that the Simmons' family fears Spooner's family or agents may be getting rid of assets that Simmons' mother hopes to collect as damages in the wrongful death case.

Spooner's attorneys opposed Larry's effort to have the temporary restraining order granted without a hearing. They argued that Spooner is entitled to hire defense counsel of his choice, even if he must sell his longtime home to pay for it.

At a hearing Friday, Circuit Judge Kevin Martens ordered that the house sale could go through but that proceeds should be set aside only for paying Spooner's attorneys, Safran said.

Spooner remained in jail in lieu of $300,000 bail.

His next court date is Aug. 2.

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Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, http://www.jsonline.com