Tonight at 9PM Eastern on Investigation Discovery, the focus of the case will be the Spencer Newcomer shooting and murder trial in Pennsylvania.

It will be interesting to see how the show treats this.  Marty Hayes, no stranger to readers here, was expert witness for the defense and did a superb job.  I am more than passingly familiar with this case, and I believe the jury’s acquittal, rendered in five hours of deliberation after a week of trial, was absolutely the correct verdict.

Lots of lessons in this one.  You can listen to Spencer describing the whole ordeal in detail at one of my annual MAG-40 classes in Harrisburg, PA on the ProArms Podcast.



  1. I just watched the program. I was expecting to see a video “Ayoob Files”, I was surprised to see no reference to to the facts at trial. It was presented as a miscarriage. No interviews of jurors, Marty’s testimony was not mentioned and no reference to applicable law was made.

    The program is intended to sensationalize with no attempt to educate.

    Kinda sad.
    Thanks for all you do Mas.

  2. I just finished watching the episode… Very spooky…
    What a mess to get into…..
    Odd that the other neighbor didn’t get charged with anything…

    Thanks for all you do Mas,


  3. Need more info!

    Missed the 9pm airing reference in your e-mail (got the e-mail too late) and can’t find a rebroadcast of the episode.

    Searching the ‘Net, it’s reported to be episode 4 (“Monkey in the Middle”), but looking at my DIRECTV on air guide, episode 4 is “Feud on the Frontier”, and the description doesn’t appear to match the Spencer Newcomer case?

    Episode 4 description says “A feud over a dog leads to all-out war.”

    I’m having no luck finding the Spencer Newcomer episode on Investigation Discovery.

    Investigation Discovery Channel is 285 for those of you with DIRECTV.

  4. Basicblur, it was the one titled “Monkey In the Middle.” Will see if I can find a rebroadcast schedule. Stay tuned.

  5. Hi Mas – haven’t had a chance to watch the show yet, but was at the MAG-40 when Spencer spoke. His comments that night were absolutely chilling, and should be mandatory listening for anyone and everyone who has decided to live their lives as a legally armed citizen. Also, based on his comments regarding the effect his ordeal had on his personal finances, some form of concealed carry insurance ought to be considered by all. I know the downsides of many of the CC insurance plans on offer, however, listen to Spencer’s comments and what his life was like after acquittal, believe me he would have been much better off had he enrolled in ANY of the policies on offer. While not exactly insurance, the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network is also a must!

    P.S. Gail needs a vacation!

  6. Folks, don’t forget the link in the body of this blog entry to the ProArms Podcast, where Spencer spent an hour discussing the details including the trial. Lots of insight there…

  7. Not having listened to the podcast yet, I do have some observations from the show.

    -Newcomer owes a debt of gratitude to the defense team. Few would have done the leg work and time to develop the background information to be able to present the mindset of those involved leading up to the final confrontation.

    -Beware the manipulator. Someone like Greg, who attempts to use others to do their dirty work. They are usually easy to spot.

    -Build a paper trail. Newcomer called the police on at least one prior occasion. Even though the officers seemed to blow him off as wasting their time, there will be documentation giving a brief synopsis of who was complaining and about what.

    -Be careful of how you display your type-A personality. Novelty signs in your yard proclaiming your second amendment rights or how you deal with trespassers are not humorous in a trial. In this case, it worked against the deceased.

    -Newcomer appeared to be attempting to deescalate by driving away from initial contact, only stopping in response to Dave’s threats of violence directed at his home if he left. A reasonable response.

    -If someone is pointing a gun at you, whether you think justifiably or not, reaching into your pocket and withdrawing it with any object, however benign, must be predicated on how the one holding the gun will view that action.

    -The right to privacy and being left alone to do your own thing when it comes to how you maintain your property has limitations. Especially if it causes you to be more or less universally disliked by those around you. Newcomer had no friendly witnesses to come to his defense when the police investigated this homicide. Would that have changed the outcome of the investigation? Probably not, but it may have influenced a Grand Jury to no-bill.

    Mas, a question for you. What elevated the charges to Capital Murder? Retaliation?

  8. PS- This incident points out a fact of modern life. Every word you type into your cell phone, i-pad, and computer, becomes a permanent record of your thoughts and communications, to be retrieved later. That is, unless you’re Hillary Clinton.

  9. Anecdotally about the novelty signs Dave had posted his front yard with. My daughter gifted me with such a metal sign last Christmas. It depicted a bulls-eye target with the warning “If You Can Read This Sign – You Are In Range”.

    We have all seen this sign posted on residential driveways and front yards. We all recognize the subliminal message. I posted mine on the top of the 25yd post of my pistol range behind my home, completely changing the connotation and perception of the message being conveyed.

  10. This episode is now available at the link Mas provided. It didn’t show up until sometime on Friday morning.

    As for the show itself, I agree with previous comments: Not a lot of facts, just opinions. I can’t wait to listen to the podcast!

  11. Mo’ searching – DIRECTV shows the next airing of S4/ E8 “Monkey In The Middle” airing Saturday, 6-3 @ 5pm.

    Have ye olde DVR set to record, but may just watch online (anytime).

  12. Thanks to all who watched the show. I was not thrilled with it. The shooting was not portrayed accurately. The decedent was not as sympathetic a figure as portrayed. There were glaring omissions of concrete facts that were in my favor. I had hoped it would have been more “educational” to people who could possibly face a similar situation. If anyone has questions, please feel free, I will do my best to answer them.

  13. Missed the program, it did rerun at midnight central time. Sounds like I missed nothing but a hatchet job. Pod cast was super. Thanks Mas and Spencer.

  14. Spencer Newcomer,

    I admit my hearing is not as good as it once was, so correct me if I’m wrong. I thought I heard you say in the last 5-6 minutes of the television rendition that authorities were talking death penalty after your arrest. If so, what were they basing the elevation to a capital offense?

  15. Dennis, in York county a lot of homicides are charged with the death penalty, then plead down to 3rd degree murder. That seems to be the way they operate. Legally, I can think of no reason for a capital charge. Ultimately they decided against it. In reality, they had no grounds for a 1st degree murder charge. In the da’s opening statement he claimed that I snapped at that moment. That would be 3rd degree. Overcharging comes with the territory. Its a lot harder to mount a defense if you are in jail. Just one example is when I was trying to show my lawyer how it happened. A guard walked by and told us we were not allowed out of our seats and kept an eye on us to make sure.

  16. Spencer Newcomer,

    This is an educational blog, sharing knowledge and experiences. I thank you for sharing yours.

    If you are comfortable with doing so, could you tell us how you went about choosing your attorney and the monetary costs of your successful defense. Was subpoenaing the phone/computer records a hunch or on a tip?

  17. Dennis, finding my attorney was dumb luck. Someone called me uncle to let him know what happened and he in turn called my mother and sister who were on vacation in a different state. As this was a Sunday, he mentioned that he had the cell number of a lawyer and they said to call him just to get me represented and we would sort it out when they made it back the following day. ultimaley interviewed 2 other attorneys but chose the first one. Sitting in prison in not the time or place to pick a lawyer who basically has his life in his hands. I urge everyone to do their homework ahead of time and find a lawyer just in case.

    Till it was all said and done, the case hit 6 figures. One lawyer they called wanted 250,000, to start. Cost me everything I had basically.

    An ex girlfriend who I hadn’t seen in 25 years saw the news report on looked up his FB page and took a screen shot of it with her phone before his family deleted it. That helped us get them, although we were not allowed to use them in court. The text messages were a little different. All I can say is that someone close to me received a letter stuffed in their front door of copies of the text messages with a note stating that my lawyer had better find these before they disappear. The text messages had not been included in discovery papers.

  18. Spencer Newcomer – Thank you very much for sharing so generously with us on the ProArms Podcast. You showed so much perseverance and patience navigating through that ordeal. I sure got some good insights. Appreciate it.

  19. Spencer Newcomer,

    You said- “The text messages had not been included in discovery papers.”

    Do you mean the prosecution had this exculpatory evidence and with-held it or failed to include it in discovery, thinking it had no bearing on case? If so, how did this information come before the jury, or did it?

  20. Phippa, thank you.

    Dennis, once the prosecution was made aware that we knew of the existence of the texts, they handed them over. Only 30 of the 288 texts made in a 5 day period were allowed in court. All of them should have been allowed, but you take what you can get. That definetly would have been an appealable issue had we not prevailed. In court, Becker read aloud his texts, while the district attorney read the decedents texts. Not once, but twice, the da skipped over the “I have a gun, Spencer is no match for me” text. Obviously my lawyer called him out on it and it made the da look like he was trying to hide something, which he was.

    In not saying all da’s are bad. People just need to be aware of the potential for dirty tricks, shenanigans and other nefarious goings on. Prosecutors don’t get re elected by losing cases.

  21. Spencer Newcomer,

    If you never knew the source of the text message transcripts, I would suggest you may have had an unknown ally who was involved in the investigation.

  22. Sam Apicelli: what might you recommend besides Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network? Wondering, too, if drawbacks arise from having multiple coverage agencies.

  23. Dear Mr. Newcomer,
    Thank you for telling your story. I listened to it twice and was riveted to it both times.

    Did the DA get re elected? I hope you put your story into book form.

  24. Spencer:

    Watched the show last night. Very frightening. Glad you had a good legal team. How did Marty get involved in the case?

  25. Mr. Newcomer, I’m unfamiliar with anything more than the very barest facts about your case so please forgive this question if the answer is obvious. To what do you most attribute your successful defense? Your own personal credibility, forensic facts, other witnesses’ testimony, reputation and history evidence, poor persuasive lawyering on the DA’s side, great persuasive lawyering on your side, something else, or no one factor which stood out above the others?

  26. David, he did get re elected. Ill have 2 books coming out. The first is strictly about how to survive the aftermath of a self defense incident, I.e.. prison, a trial and going home. The 2nd will be a full accounting of the incident.

    George, we had contacted Mas about being our expert witness but due to a scheduling conflict, he could not, so he recommended Marty Hayes.

    Dave, I was able to articulate why I did what I did and the hard physical evidence backed up my account. The one juror i spoke to after the trial stated that it was obvious after the first day that the prosecution and its witnesses were saying whatever they thought would garner a conviction. The prosecution never had a case. All of their witnesses had different, self serving accounts that didn’t match the evidence. As an example, one witness stated I chased him and was firing over the course of about 50ft. Yet the jury could see that all the shell casings were so close together that you could have covered them all with a hat.

  27. Guilty until proven innocent. So a “good” District Attorney is one who gets lots of convictions. Doesn’t matter if he or she convicts the guilty or the innocent, just has to get lots of convictions. Sounds like the legal profession is a sport. You just have to win. Take steroids, bribe the referees, purposely injure other players, spy on their plays, because winning is everything. And I know our legal system is better than the systems of all those backward countries in the world. Good grief!

    Some TV producer should make a show where each week, a different crook is put on trial, then executed. It should be fantasy, not reality. So the first crook would be Hitler, then Stalin, then Mao. I won’t name any others, and the writers could even invent characters. Don’t you think a show like that would get high ratings?

  28. Funny how there was not one neighbor on the entire block that had anything nice to say about Spencer. A welfare recipient who could care less about his neighbors. His dogs shit on multiple neighbors yards. 6 different neighbors complained about Spencer to. the town way before this Dave guy moved in. Bill Cooper said it best when he said listen to everything listen to everyone believe nothing unless you can prove it with your own research. According to the Neighborhood and my research Dave was the only guy that stood up to Spencer, and Spencer did whatever he wanted no matter how negatively it hurt the rest of the neighborhood. This guy is a murderous jealous scumbags research it for yourselves. Public records.

  29. If someone poisoned my dogs and vandalized my car. The first thing I would do is file a police report. Spencer did not file reports against anyone. Yet multiple neighbors not the 2 he keeps talking about filed reports against Spencer. Research my brothers. This guys is a wheezle.

  30. George, the jury heard the evidence, and found him not guilty. That carries a bit more weight than your comment, I think.

  31. Upon finding out how much evidence was withheld by the judge and hidden by the DA, all I can say is, WTF? What is wrong with these people?

  32. Mas it does carry more weight and he can not be retired for the same crime.. Just don’t think a trained 20 year Marine would reach into his pocket while unarmed while staring at a glock being pointed at him. This Spencer guy makes no sense. He is not as smart as he thinks he is. Plus they couldn’t prove 1st degree cause that would be premeditated, DA never went for 2nd degree just 3rd and manslaughter. If you look at what everyone in his neighborhood thought of him he was like most whitetrashh neighbors that do t care about others rights or property, do what though will was his highest law, screw everyone else.

  33. George, you don’t have a clue what you are talking about. I did file police reports, they were admitted into evidence at the trial, which you weren’t at. I want carrying a glock, obviously your “research” is a little lacking. As to why I wasnt charged with 2nd degree murder, it would help if you knew what that actually was. That is a homicide committed in the commission of another felony, which obviously wouldn’t apply. If the decedent had some many friends, why did only one agree to appear on camera for the show? You have no answers and no clue.

  34. George,

    I believe all of us here are attempting to analyze this case with the evidence made available to us. You, evidently have an intimate knowledge of this case and those involved or you are reading more into the narrative than has been revealed. I don’t believe Mr. Newcomer has tried to hide the friction he had with his neighbors. Your anger and name calling would lead one to believe you could be one of those disgruntled neighbors.

    No one here is trying to judge Mr. Newcomer’s desirability as a neighbor, just whether the verdict of the jury was justified. We, as a group, tend to not name call and cast aspersion on others.

    Don’t know what brand pistol Mr. Newcomer actually used, but the one depicted on the TV show was a Beretta, not a Glock.

  35. I am not a neighbor of Newcomer or a resident of PA. I do know that no trained military man would reach in his pocket when there is a gun pointed at his chest especially when he is not carrying a weapon. It is a fact that this Dave guy had no weapon on him. I also know from being in a self defense situation myself, that a normal person would feel some remorse about taking a life justified or not. Spencer over here is bragging and is talking about writing books about it, which shows narcissistic tendencies at best. Only one neighbor appeared on TV but many testified against you. Show some humanity the guy had a kid. I have not seen these text messages or facebook page, I found no record maybe you can provide them to me. I want to be wrong in this situation. Prove me wrong. No unarmed trained military man would reach in his pocket when staring at the other end of a gun, a war veteran no less. The facts I read show a cold blood murder.

  36. Mrs Ginter testified in court that this Dave guy said wait and his hands were not in his pocket when you put 4 slugs in him. I will not believe that a trained military person of 17 years would put his hands in his pocket when someone is pointing a gun at them. It is common sense. I hope you don’t do it again. God Help us all! Some of us do use our intelligence and we are not steaks on the table by choice and consent.

  37. Cut the crap, George. The texts etc. are a matter of record. I have a copy of the trial transcript. And you are totally mischaracterizing Spencer’s statements and motives.

    The jury saw the evidence, and has spoken. You are clearly ignorant of the evidence. Your speculation that a trained Marine would not fake having a gun overlooks the fact that a sane Marine would not engage in the harassing behavior the deceased documentably carried out.

    Time to grind your ax elsewhere.

  38. Please provide these transcripts. I can admit when I am wrong cause I found no such facebook page or texts. You shouldn’t talk ill of the dead especially a well decorated one that served his country it makes you look weak. This is my last post I said what I believe.

  39. Oh and post traumatic stress does not make someone insane. Then again what would someone who’s never been there know. I wouldn’t write a book or try to profit after taking someones life it is not very noble or a sane thing to do, especially on a decorated war hero who was berried with full honors. You won your a free man.Move on.

  40. “I will not believe that a trained military person of 17 years would put his hands in his pocket when someone is pointing a gun at them. It is common sense.”

    Have you known anyone who has suffered from real PTSD? They tend to react without “common sense” when triggered.

  41. “George,” you have some sense of entitlement to come in here and libel people, and then demand THEY provide you with expensive transcripts of a case you obviously don’t really understand.

    You’re right about one thing, though. That most definitely WAS your last post here.

  42. I will not feed the troll, but I will address the “common sense” and “no one believes a……..would act like that”.

    Police officers see a lot of people at their worst. People acting in a way they normally don’t. Sometimes the behavior can be traced back to a previous event that led to the mental short circuit that led to the police being called, sometimes it remains a mystery.

    I once stopped a man for speeding. As the contact progressed, he became more and more agitated. He began striking himself in the face with his own fists and screaming for me to just shoot him. I marveled at the force with which he was hitting himself, wondering how someone could marshal the will to hit themselves that hard in their own face. Of course, I called for back-up, but I also flagged down a passing motorist and asked if he would stand by with me to witness what this man was doing to himself. (yes, I declined trying to stop the assault on himself until my back-up arrived).

    This young man was a well educated junior officer at a large bank in downtown Dallas with no history of violence. We transported him to a hospital for observation on a mental health warrant.

    Were there any prior signs this man would suddenly do something that”made no sense”? Only his family and/or psychologist knows. I was unlucky enough to be there when it happened.

    It’s not normal for a “trained Marine” to write notes (texts) bragging about his ability and intent to do harm. A well trained warrior would know such recorded conversations could come back to bite him in the you know what. Had Mr. Newcomer posted such things prior to this incident, it could have turned out much differently for him.

  43. Dennis you Make a solid point. I apologize about my opinion. My Intent was not malicious Just confused why some one would reach in to their pocket. I saw someone beat themselves in the face once for no reason to and they were a very nice person. I apologize to Mr. Newcomer.

  44. George, apology accepted. This was a tragedy for everyone involved. My speaking and writing about it is not for personal aggrandizement or enrichment, but for people to learn and hopefully prevent further tragedies. I also hope to clarify some of the misinformation out there.

  45. I’ve listened to many of the ProArms podcasts and Spencer’s case was perhaps the most difficult for me to listen to. I could hear complete devastation in his voice as he told his story, suffering the time in prison and all of the emotional and financial turmoil, and more. It’s very hard to listen to, but I suppose that’s part of the great lesson he has to teach. I’ll pray for his full recovery.

    In the TV episode, just my opinion, Greg was such a weasel and Dave . . . If I lived in that circumstance I wouldn’t even want to see their faces in my back yard. If I could afford it I’d get some decent fences and set up some sort of video surveillance. One shouldn’t be forced to go to those extremes but it would at least limit contact with the hostile neighbors.

  46. I was not aware of Discovery ID channel, looking for it only after Mas’ e-mail about the case.

    Gotta confess – after watching Spencer’s case (and giving a few others a try), I’ve been binge watching Fear Thy Neighbor.

    There appear to be a few common warning signs in many of these cases, one of which is neighbors that appear to be a little “too” friendly.

    The 2 episodes that involved police officers are also interesting. In one, the entire neighborhood payed the police chief a visit over the officer’s behavior, to no avail (S!, E3, Final Notice).

    If memory serves, there is only one case in modern history of a fully automatic weapon being used in the commission of a crime, and that was by a LEO.

    If so, I watched that case last night – S3, E7, Daddy’s Got A Gun.

    A couple of others you folks might find interesting:
    1. S3, E3, Neighborhood Madhouse – a psychologist does her own background check, gets the wrong person, and proceeds to use the state and the system in an effort to get rid of her neighbor.
    2. S2, E1, Kill Thy Neighbor – after the shooting, pay attention to everything wrong the shooter (not charged) did, referring to his “training”, and the comments by his lawyer regarding his training (also wrong)!
    His first shot was in the air – his second shot was thru his landscaper’s truck (2 warning shots!). According to his lawyer, he then aimed for the shoulder in an effort to wound him, and when the deceased apparently turned in reaction to the first shot, he was apparently “accidentally” shot in the chest.

    According to his lawyer, it sounds like he was going to shoot to wound a second time!

    For those of you that have DIRECTV, Discovery ID is on channel 285.
    Discovery ID On Demand is on channel 1285, where you can find many episodes of Fear Thy Neighbor.

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