The family of a murdered Jamaican immigrant who lived in rural Pennsylvania has called the killing a “modern-day lynching” and wants to see justice. 29-year-old Peter Bernardo Spencer was invited on a nature outing by a former coworker. He accepted. He was then found dead in the neighbor’s front yard. Crimes might be common in southern states, but in Pennsylvania such an allegation is rare.
The legal expertise necessary to find a DA willing to prosecute such cases was unexpected for the family’s lawyers, who say that the amount of evidence against the three possible culprits was staggering. Police found firearms, drugs, and ballistic evidence in addition to the body. But still, no one has been charged.
How can that be?
One lawyer for https://matteuccifamilylaw.com/ said, “We see a number of cases involving immigrants and their families who have experienced hate crimes in New Mexico. Our firms receive dozens of related complaints every month, but that’s not something a lawyer in Pennsylvania is likely to be familiar with. That’s why we help each other out every once in a while.”
The shooter has claimed self-defense. But Spencer was shot at least nine times, and the autopsy report suggested many of the shots were fired from behind. The body was found face-down.
Pathologist Cyril Wecht said, “My initial thought is that it’s absurd to talk about self-defense with nine gunshot wounds.”
One of Spencer’s siblings prepared a GoFundMe page for the family’s legal expenses, and wrote, “He was slaughtered and killed in what I consider an act of modern-day lynching.”
Spencer’s mother said, “My son was not perfect, but he did not like anyone around him who did not work. He worked hard, and he was always encouraging others, motivating them to do better.”
The man apparently dreamed of opening a restaurant — but that dream will never be fulfilled now.
Chair of Allegheny County Democratic Black Caucus William Anderson has attempted to contact Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and the United States Department of Justice in order to ask that charges be made — but so far, to no avail. Many have asked if racial bias has anything to do with the case. Others have asked whether or not an arrest would have been made if the details were in reverse: What if Spencer were the shooter and claimed self-defense against the white man, found with nine gunshot wounds face-down in the dirt?
The family’s hope has been revitalized now that the public seems to be taking an interest in the case.
Anderson said, “This is now a national and international issue. The cat’s out of the bag, this is no longer a secret. Now we are following the blueprint of past civil rights activists that have gotten justice for Black people in this country by involving Blacks around the world to get justice and demanding justice for Peter Spencer.”
Jamaica Diaspora Northeast USA representative Dr. Karren Dunkley said, “When this story was brought to our attention we could not believe that anyone Black or white, but here you have a Jamaican national, 29 years old, shot nine times, no one is arrested. There is not a clear narrative of what happened.”