Toronto police have charged two men in the death of aspiring rapper Anthony Spencer, who was shot at a Scarborough recording studio last January during a robbery.
Samuel Paul, 23, who has been in police custody since last January on gun offences, was arrested Monday at the Toronto West Detention Centre and charged with first-degree murder and robbery with a firearm. Paul who goes by Sam G or Sammy G is a member of the Wickson Trail gang, police say.
Chever Ashley, 22, who was also in police custody on similar gun charges at the Toronto East Detention Centre, was arrested and charged the same day with robbery with a firearm as well as accessory after the fact to murder. Ashley is often referred to as J.A.
Det.-Sgt. Gary Giroux said Tuesday at a news conference that the semi-automatic pistol recovered from the scene that both men were in custody for was determined by forensics to be the murder weapon that killed Spencer.
“It’s not unusual for rappers to make perceived disrespectful comments in rap songs but this is a robbery-based homicide investigation,” Giroux said. “Safe to say that all of the individuals who were present were the victims of robbery and the homicide of Spencer was the end result.”
Spencer’s relatives who were present thanked the homicide unit and the media for their help.
“I’m hoping an arrest will give courage to those witnesses who haven’t come forward to step up and do the right thing,” sister Susan Spencer said.
Spencer, a 23-year-old father of a young daughter, was shot to death at close range around 4:30 a.m. on Jan. 21 at a well-known recording studio for rappers on Brimley Road near Lawrence Avenue. Giroux said the accused were in the recording studio with Spencer and his friends and robbed them of their belongings. During the robbery, Spencer was shot to death. The accused then fled.
Spencer’s friends loaded him into a car, left him at Scarborough General Hospital and took off.
In the weeks after the shooting, police released security images of the five men carrying Spencer out of the studio and putting him in a car.
Police also released security footage of a young woman, described as a person of interest, caught on camera walking in and out of the studio just before the shooting. Giroux said she was in the midst of calling a taxi company when the fatal shot rang out — that shot can be heard in the background during the call.
There is now a countrywide arrest warrant for LaPrincia Palmer, 19, of Toronto. She would face robbery with a firearm as well as attempting to obstruct the course of justice. Giroux advised that she surrender. No other arrests are expected, Giroux said.
Ashley and Paul were arrested several days after the murder on Jan. 26 and Jan. 30, respectively.
Police have linked Spencer’s murder to three drive-by shootings in Malvern last January, but Giroux declined to comment on that matter.
Both men made a brief court appearance on Tuesday morning. Their next court date is Oct. 23.