Doddridge teen enters guilty plea

WEST UNION – Three pleas of guilty were entered Wednesday in the case of a Doddridge County teenager charged with the 2012 shooting of his parents and younger sister.

Joseph B. Spencer, 18, entered the guilty pleas to charges of first-degree murder as part of a plea agreement in Doddridge County Circuit Court.

Spencer’s attorney, Rodney Windom, said Judge Tim Sweeney will announce if he will accept or reject the pleas during a hearing at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 10.

According to the proposed binding agreement, Spencer would be sentenced to two concurrent terms of life with mercy, meaning he would be eligible for parole after 15 years, for his parents deaths to be served consecutively to a life with mercy sentence for the death of his sister.

Windom called the plea agreement a “difficult but appropriate resolution of the case.”

“He’s looking at 30 years to life,” Windom said. “The court is holding the plea for consideration pending a presentence investigation; the judge could reject the plea.”

In that event, Windom said, a trial date would be set.

Police reports at the time identified the victims as his father Frederick Arthur Spencer III, 49, and his mother Dixie Lee Spencer, 47, and their daughter 9-year-old Patience “PJ” Spencer. On Sept. 3, 2012, Spencer called Doddridge County 911 saying he shot his parents and younger sister at their home outside of West Union, police said.

Spencer’s older siblings Elisabeth and Ian Spencer were not home at the time of the shootings.

Special Prosecutor Philip Morrison told Sweeney that Spencer used Frederick Spencer’s 9 mm gun in the shooting. In late 2012, Sweeney granted a state motion to try Joseph Spencer as an adult.

Police said Spencer told the officer who responded to the call he used his father’s handgun and then called 911 to report the shootings.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)