In June 2012, months of escalating conflict between two neighbors finally boiled over when shots were fired in Springettsbury Township, Pennsylvania, resulting in David Wintermyer’s death. While the authorities were quick to arrest the shooter, the ensuing legal proceedings were about whether the shooting was justified. Investigation Discovery’s ‘Fear Thy Neighbor: Monkey in the Middle’ delves into the precipitating factors behind David’s death and what happened after. So, if you’re curious about the same, here’s what we know.
How Did David Wintermyer Die?
David Edward Wintermyer was a York, Pennsylvania, native, born in August 1964. He was very energetic and played football while growing up. After graduating from high school, David served in the US Marine Corps for close to two decades under different roles. Apart from a decorated service with the Corps, the 47-year-old was described by loved ones as a friendly person who loved playing and coaching football.
On the morning of June 10, 2012, the authorities were called into a quiet neighborhood in Springettsbury Township after gunshots rang out in the area. They found David shot multiple times after what turned out to be a long-simmering dispute with his neighbor. He was shot thrice in the chest and one time in the center of his back. While David’s killer was present at the scene and taken into custody, the motivation behind the attack became a point of contention.
Who Killed David Wintermyer?
Spencer Newcomer IV was David Wintermyer’s next-door neighbor. The authorities later learned that there had been several issues between the two, with a rundown, termite-infested shed on Spencer’s property being a chief source of disagreement. Furthermore, other neighbors had complained about weeds growing out of Spencer’s property and that his dogs defecated on David’s lawn.
However, Spencer later claimed he had an electric fence, meaning the dogs could not leave his property. He also said that other neighbors vandalized his residence and had been harassing him for a long time. Spencer filed many police reports in the time leading up to the fatal incident regarding many of these issues. On the day of the shooting, he was headed to a car show in Maryland when he said David confronted him. According to Spencer, the ex-Marine had threatened his girlfriend as well.
Spencer and other eyewitnesses had different versions regarding what happened next. Spencer stated that David later threatened to kill his dogs. Once David got closer, Spencer alleged that he said, “I’m going to fix you. I’m going to kill you.” Fearing for his safety, the 43-year-old said he took the firearm out of his truck and claimed he saw David reach for something black in his pocket. Thinking it was a gun, Spencer fired, hitting David at point-blank range. However, it turned out that David only had a cellphone in his pocket.
Spencer later said, “I felt pure terror: absolute, pure terror. Everything happened incredibly fast. Obviously, I had never experienced anything like that before. I fired. I did not have any idea of how many times I fired. He spun away from me and fell, and I stopped firing.” But Margaret Ginter, a neighbor, said that she saw Spencer utter an expletive at David before driving away slowly.
Margaret further added that Spencer stopped, got out, and pointed the gun at David, who was walking behind the vehicle. She then testified, “He (Spencer) got out of the truck, gun in hand, and killed Dave. He just point-blank shot the man.” Other neighbors also stated that David never reached for anything in his pocket and had his hands up in the air, like he was gesturing.
Where is Spencer Newcomer Now?
While witnesses testified to David Wintermyer not reaching for his pocket, Spencer Newcomer was adamant about that happening. His attorney drew attention to his client’s state of mind, saying Spencer suspected David of poisoning his dogs, vandalizing his car, and saw David as someone who was harassing him. While Spencer was charged with first and third-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter, the jury felt that the deadly use of force was justified. As a result, Spencer was acquitted of all charges in March 2013.
Spencer was eventually released from custody but faced debt due to the legal charges that he incurred. Apart from that, he suffered injuries during arrest, leaving him unable to work at the time. Spencer had to sell almost all of his personal belongings and his house to pay for legal and medical expenses. From what we can tell, he now seems to live in Leland, North Carolina, and has maintained a low profile since the trial ended.
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