Lawyer: Drugs Tell Different Story in Peter Spencer's Death

Paul Jubas: Shooter said they took mushrooms, but psilocin wasn't detected in shooter's blood
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2022 11:00 AM CDT
Lawyer: Drugs Tell Different Story in Peter Spencer's Death
Attorney Paul Jubas, left, and forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht are seen during a press conference in Pittsburgh on Monday.   (Steve Mellon/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP)

Peter Spencer was shot dead by a co-worker during a a Pennsylvania camping trip last December; two weeks ago, Venango County District Attorney Shawn White announced no charges would be brought, saying that based on the evidence and Pennsylvania's "stand your ground" laws, prosecutors would be unable to show "this was not self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt." But a lawyer for Spencer's family is now taking issue with that evidence. Attorney Paul Jubas tells the Washington Post that there are "strange inconsistencies," and he outlines them. For one, the shooter—who said Spencer, a Jamaican immigrant, began shooting an AK-47 into the air around the campfire—said he and Spencer had consumed mushrooms.

But Jubas said the shooter's toxicology report didn't show the presence of psilocin (which is present in most psychedelic mushrooms), while Spencer's did. Further, Jubas said Spencer's report showed the presence of fentanyl, a fact that prosecutors didn't mention when discussing the case. In Jubas' view, the shooter lied about taking mushrooms. "It was strange to see the district attorney talk about how credible this investigation was and how credible the witnesses were and the suspect was, only to have him by direct evidence be contradicted and his credibility undermined," Jubas noted.

Cyril Wecht, a pathologist engaged by the family, took issue with the DA's assertion that five of the nine gunshots that hit Spencer did so in the back because Spencer was twisting and falling at the time. "Where is this fear on the part of the shooter that he is being threatened?" WTAE quotes Wecht as saying. "Five shots at Mr. Spencer while he is moving away from the shooter, and the shooter continues to shoot. If the guy's falling down, what are you continuing to shoot him for? Do you think he's going to go to Earth and get his machine gun?" (More Peter Spencer stories.)

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