Spencer indicted on murder charges

WEST UNION – Three counts of murder were returned in an indictment of 16-year-old Joseph Spencer in Doddridge County Circuit Court Monday.

On Sept. 3, Spencer called Doddridge County 911 saying he shot his parents and younger sister at their home outside of West Union, police said.

Doddridge County Prosecutor Brooke Fitzgerald was not available Tuesday for comment.

According to police reports at the time, the victims were identified as Fred and Dixie Spencer and their daughter Patience “PJ” Spencer. This fall, Doddridge County Circuit Court Judge Tim Sweeney granted a motion by the state to try Joseph Spencer as an adult.

Police said Spencer told the officer who responded to the call he used his father’s 9mm handgun in the shootings and then called 911 to report the shootings.

Doddridge County sheriff’s deputy C.W. Modesitt responded to the call to the Spencer home north of West Union. Modesitt reported when he arrived he apprehended Spencer and placed him in the cruiser.

The Spencers also are survived by a daughter, Elisabeth Spencer, 20, a junior at Marshall University, and another son Ian, a senior at Doddridge County High School who was with his girlfriend when the shootings occurred.

Frederick Spencer III, 49, was a pilot for United Parcel Service and had a degree in criminal justice and aviation from Salem College. He was employed by UPS as an international flight captain with more than 20 years of service.

Dixie Spencer, 47, was a science teacher at Ritchie County Middle School. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in secondary education and educational technology from Salem College.

PJ, 9, who was a student at Doddridge County Elementary School, enjoyed reading and swimming and wanted to be a doctor at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.