York man acquitted in neighbor's slaying over shed argument
Spencer “Lee” Newcomer IV was acquitted of all charges at his homicide trial that ended with a verdict at 8:30 p.m. Friday.
Newcomer's side of the courtroom erupted in cheers and sobs when the verdict was read.
He had been charged with first- and third-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter for the June 10 shooting death of his neighbor, David Wintermyer, after a months-long feud.
York County District Attorney Tom Kearney left the courtroom after Wintermyer's family, stopping to say it was a “well-tried case.”
Defense attorney Chris Ferro said he was “speechless” and “overjoyed.”
Ferro had not pushed for a conviction on the lesser charge of voluntary defense. He, in fact, told the jury in his closing argument that it was “not a case of murder or manslaughter.”
Instead, he maintained Newcomer, 43, was justified in using deadly force against Wintermyer.
“It was an all or nothing case,” Ferro said, following the verdict.
In his closing statement, Kearney admitted Wintermyer, 47, was a bully.
“Guilty,” Kearney had said. “But that doesn't mean he deserves to be killed.”
“I don't think he had a choice based up the mountain of evidence,” Ferro said of Kearney's admission about the dead man.
The jury deliberated about five hours before returning a verdict.
After the jurors were released, Judge Richard K. Renn ordered Newcomer to be discharged.
Newcomer hugged Ferro and other family members before being returned to York County Prison, where he has been held without bail since his arrest, for his formal release from custody.
During the trial, several eyewitnesses, mostly neighbors, testified that Newcomer and Wintermyer had argued about a dilapidated, termite-infested shed in Newcomer's back yard. After the disagreement on the morning of the shooting, Newcomer began to drive away but backed up, got out of his truck and fatally shot Wintermyer, they testified.
Those eyewitnesses told jurors that Wintermyer had his hands in the air, as if gesturing or speaking with them, and that he never reached toward the pockets of his cargo shorts before he was shot.
Newcomer testified that Wintermyer, a former Marine, did reach into his front pocket and was pulling out something black. Newcomer said he was afraid it was a gun, so he fired because he believed Wintermyer would kill him.
Testimony revealed Wintermyer wasn't armed when he was killed. He was shot three times in the chest and once in the middle of his back.