Murder Suspect’s Attorneys Seek Records To Bolster Self-defense Claim
PITTSTON — As the trial nears for Pittston murder suspect Stephen Spencer, his attorneys are seeking records to bolster a self-defense claim by showing the bar where the shooting took place is a dangerous place.
Stephen Jamal Spencer, 31, of Pittston, is facing criminal homicide charges in the shooting death of Christopher Williams, 32, also of the city. Williams was killed outside Saints & Sinners Irish Pub on Center Street early the morning of July 9, 2017.
In a motion filed Tuesday, defense attorneys John Pike and Mary Deady seek 17 incident reports they say could provide exculpatory evidence. They cited a number of 911 dispatches to Saints & Sinners — a bar Williams and his friends frequented — that reference large fights, drug dealing and other crimes.
“The aforesaid dispatches to the Pittston City Police Department from the Luzerne County 911 Center clearly depict a violent establishment involving fighting, acts of physical violence, bleeding and drug use,” the attorneys wrote. “The defense respectfully asserts this matter as relevant and material to the defense of self-defense as to the violent nature and tendencies of the patrons who frequent this establishment.”
The deadly shooting took place after Williams’ cousin refused to shake Spencer’s hand because he is black.
“I don’t socialize with nobody outside of my race. That’s just the way I am,” Marty Williams testified during a hearing last summer.
Marty Williams claimed that as he and his cousin were leaving the bar Spencer ambushed them and shot Christopher Williams without warning. When police arrived they found Spencer holding a .45-caliber pistol, saying, “Here’s the gun. I shot him.”
Pike has previously suggested a group of people using racial epithets confronted Spencer outside the bar and prevented him from reaching his vehicle. He described Spencer, who was licensed to carry a concealed weapon, as facing a “classic self-defense” situation.
Spencer has been held without bail at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility since his arrest.
His trial is currently set to begin with jury selection Monday.
Contact the writer: