Texas ‘vigilante’, 24, is charged with murdering convicted pedophile ‘after posing as underage child on app then shooting him dead during arranged meet-up’
A ‘diabolically cunning’ vigilante posed as a child online to lure a pedophile into a trap, then shot him dead in a drive-by shooting.
James Lewis Spencer (24) admitted to killing Sean Connery Showers (37) after the convicted sex offender’s son was found on May 29 in Houston.
He was arrested without incident Wednesday and charged with first-degree murder, facing charges Thursday in Harris County District Court.
“To be honest, this is a planned execution,” said chief prosecutor Rehman Merchant.
‘I think he targeted an individual, he arranged a meeting, knew where he was going to be, and then fired a weapon several times and then just went back home as if nothing had happened.’
Vigilante James Lewis Spencer, 24, posted online as a child to lure a pedophile into a trap, then shot him dead in a drive-by shooting
Surveillance footage showed a car pull up to Showers and stop next to him around 3:50 a.m., before he was shot multiple times with an automatic weapon.
Police were unable to identify the car or the driver at the time, but found Showers’ phone under his body with messages showing he planned to meet someone at a nearby park.
Merchant said Spencer began messaging Showers on Kik, a social media app popular with teenagers, posing as a child, and agreed to have sex with him.
‘The communication was sexual in nature. The officers believe they met at this park to engage in sexual activity,’ he said.
‘There is some communication on the phones or between the two about (Showers’) dealings or past interactions with children or minor individuals.’
He was arrested without incident Wednesday and charged with first-degree murder, and will face Thursday in Harris County District Court.
Showers was jailed for 30 months in 2009 for possession of child pornography, and again in 2019 for two years for failing to register as a sex offender.
Spencer was eventually identified through phone records, and his phone was traced to and from the murder scene that night.
Detectives spoke with Spencer’s girlfriend, who told them he was frustrated the police weren’t doing more to keep pedophiles locked up.
Spencer told her “he wanted to rob and harm those types of men because they would do bad things to small children and other people and he knew how to track them through an app on the phone,” his bail documents state.
“A month later, the defendant made the same comment that ‘if the cops aren’t going to do anything, maybe he should kill them himself’.”
Spencer is yet to enter a plea, but police said he ‘admitted his role in the incident’.
Sean Connery Showers (37) was jailed for 30 months in 2009 for possession of child pornography and again in 2019 for two years for failing to register as a sex offender.
Merchant said police are trying to access Spencer’s phone to determine if he is connected to any other murders or attacks on sex offenders.
‘Based on the conversation he had with the girl, that kind of comment he made ‘pedophiles’ in the plural. As of now, we are still investigating it,” he said.
‘Look, regardless of the attractiveness of the victim, we are a nation of laws. No one can be judge, jury and executioner depending on how they feel.’
Houston Crime Stoppers victim services director Andy Kahan called Spencer “diabolically devious” and said the case was something you only saw in movies.
Spencer was given a $250,000 bond ahead of his next court appearance on Monday, but had yet to post bail because he was still behind bars.
After prosecutors pointed out that he was already out on bail on drug charges, he was ordered to 24-hour house arrest with GPS monitoring, and has no access to firearms, ammunition or weapons.