Family says man killed in ‘modern day lynching’ at coworker’s cabin

Jamaican immigrant and father-to-be Peter Bernardo Spencer was shot nine times on a Pennsylvania camping trip last month

When 29-year-old Peter Bernardo Spencer accepted an invitation to hang out at a rural cabin belonging to a former coworker, his family never fathomed that they would never see him alive again. 

The Jamaican immigrant and father-to-be lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and had traveled to Rockland Township in Venango County with the former coworker, and there were other guests — two other white men and a white woman. According to PennLive.com, Spencer did not know the other three. 

Jamaican immigrant and father-to-be Peter Bernardo Spencer was shot nine times on a camping trip last month in Pennsylvania. His death reportedly is not being probed by authorities. (Photo: GoFundMe.com)

According to the Penn Live report, Pennsylvania State Police were called to the cabin in the early morning hours of Dec. 12 and found Spencer dead with multiple gunshot wounds. Since then, the Venango County coroner has disclosed that he was shot nine times, and Cyril Wecht, a well-known pathologist assisting Spencer’s family, has concluded that many of those bullets entered his body from behind. 

The 25-year-old suspect Spencer knew and the other three people were detained, questioned, and released according to the report. However, police found multiple firearms in the cabin, “ballistic evidence,” and controlled substances. More than six weeks later, no one has been charged with the crime, and the Venango County District Attorney, as well as the Pennsylvania State Police, are calling for patience

Peter was an outdoorsman from Jamaica,” said Paul Jubas, a civil rights attorney who is advising the family. “He loved being outside in nature.” At the family’s request, Jubas released photos from Spencer’s autopsy on his social media accounts. 

His family has referred to Spencer’s murder as a “modern-day lynching.” His pregnant fiancée, Carmela King, created a GoFundMe for which donations “will be applied to solving the murder of a man who trusted his friend,” it states, “which resulted in him being executed by such.”



Spencer’s sister, Tehlilah Spencer, also created a GoFundMe effort to help pay for his funeral arrangements. “Peter was MURDERED in Rockland Township, Pennsylvania in a backwater rural town where he was completetly vulnerable and cut off from everything and everyone,” she wrote on the benefit site. “He was slaughtered and killed in what i consider an act of MODERN DAY LYNCHING!”


The Kingston-born man moved to North Carolina at 16 before returning to his native nation. He came back to the states, to Pennsylvania, in 2013. His family is hoping to get other law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation. 

William Anderson, the chair of the Allegheny County Democratic Black Caucus, said Spencer’s former coworker admitted to shooting him but has claimed self-defense. Wecht, the pathologist, doubts that, however. “My initial thought is that it’s absurd to talk about self-defense with nine gunshot wounds,” he told The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Spencer’s mother, Icilda Spencer-Henry, told The Jamaica Gleaner they “have been told that there was an altercation and the people who shot him were in fear for their lives, but this makes no sense as he was with four other white men when he was shot and killed.” 

According to the Gleaner, Dr. Karren Dunkley, Jamaica’s Global Diaspora Council member for the U.S. Northeastern Region, met on the weekend with members of the attorney general’s office in Philadelphia to discuss Spencer’s killing — around which the silence is angering activists throughout the state.

Dunkley said that the nation and the Jamaican Diaspora Northeast USA-Pennsylvania is calling for “urgent, concrete action and a thorough, impartial investigation without delay.” 

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