The Anatomy of a Self-Defense Shooting, Pt. 1

Interview with Spencer Newcomer and Christopher Ferro, Esq.

by Marty Hayes

Network President Marty Hayes on occasion takes work as an expert witness, testifying about ballistics, crime scene reconstruction, blood spatter, use of force and various other issues relating to armed self defense. Some years ago, he provided expert testimony when Spencer Newcomer (shown below, right with Network Advisory Board Member Massad Ayoob Massad Ayoob, who recommended Hayes’ expertise for the Newcomer case, and later featured Spencer on a ProArms podcast. You can hear more of his story at was taken to trial in York, PA, facing charges of first- and third-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter for the June 10, 2012 shooting death of David Wintermyer.

Hayes was hired by defense attorney Christopher Ferro to explain evidence in the case to clear Newcomer, who had been jailed in the York County Prison for nine months before a jury found him not guilty. Now, over five years later, Newcomer has attempted to rebuild his life, having moved to a different state far away from the area in which he grew up and lived until the shooting. We are privileged to share an interview Hayes recorded after the trial with Mr. Newcomer and his defense attorney. It contains many vital lessons, and we switch now to Q&A between Hayes, Newcomer and Ferro.

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President’s Message

Marty eJournal column pix

by Marty Hayes, J.D.

I want to wish all of our members a belated Merry Christmas, and if you are not Christian, then Happy Holidays, and for everyone, Happy New Year!

So far, I have had a pretty relaxing holiday break, but it looks like things are going to be picking up for me soon. I got a call yesterday from Network Advisory Board Member Massad Ayoob, who was calling to let me know he gave me up to an attorney who was looking for an expert on a homicide case. I haven’t had any cases for most of this year, and it has been nice. But when people are charged with murder and they have a plausible case of justifiable homicide in self defense, it is hard to turn them away. I haven’t seen discovery yet, so at the moment, I am not sure how much I will get involved.

Which brings me to the lead article in this eJournal, my interview about the Spencer Newcomer case. When an expert takes a case and works with the attorney to help put together the defense, then testifies in court and the person is acquitted (and gets their life back) it is a pretty warm and fuzzy feeling.

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Attorney Question of the Month


The Network recommends that armed citizens get to know an attorney before needing one. A client who wants to meet with an attorney absent a pending legal issue is unusual for many criminal defense law firms, so we asked our Affiliated Attorneys to comment on the pre-need consultation with this question–

We understand that law firms are busy places focused on defending people with current legal problems. How do you recommend a Network member who does not have a pending legal issue connect with an attorney for a brief consultation to be sure the member understands their state’s self-defense laws, while getting to know the attorney they'll call to protect their rights after self defense?

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Book Review

Violence of Mind: Training and Preparation for Extreme Violence
By Varg Freeborn
246 pages, paperback, $17.26
One Life Defense Publishing (Feb. 23, 2018)
ISBN-13: 978-0578202006

Reviewed by Gila Hayes

Rory Miller once wrote that fiction about violence focuses on dramatic action without exposing the reader to the smell and sound of death as bowels release, the respiratory death rattle, the extreme thirst of the dying and the time between mortal injury and death. When using violence is theoretical, it’s easy for those studying the subject to miss the big picture. Violence of Mind by Varg Freeborn is a good antidote. “My simple goal here is to share my first-hand experience with extreme criminal violence… so the average person can begin to understand how violence works in our society,” Freeborn writes in his introduction. “I am not shy about supporting the use of lethal force to stop an imminent deadly threat,” he notes, but urges readers to “know and accept the consequences.”

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Editor's Notebook


by Gila Hayes

Recently, I was archiving records of contributions and withdrawals from the Network’s Legal Defense Fund, moving some of the detailed records into deep storage, when I ran across a note from members John and Christine in PA who had just read our 2014 in Review article and were moved to donate to the Network’s Legal Defense Fund. Their note read, “Hi, Gila! Just saw your email. Let’s see if we can get the total above $8K for 2015. Kind regards, John and Chris.”

The Legal Defense Fund hit $800,000 in 2016 and surpassed the 1-million-dollar mark the following year. The vigorous growth of the Legal Defense Fund brings peace of mind to Network members, founders and staff alike, since the more funding we have to provide for member legal defense, the better prepared we are to strike back hard when a prosecutor or plaintiff’s attorney starts making noises about charging or suing a member who has done nothing more than what was necessary to remain alive and keep his or her family safe.

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About this Journal


The eJournal of the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, Inc. is published monthly on the Network’s website at Content is copyrighted by the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, Inc.

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