The nearly silent room erupted into applause and cheers.
After more than 25 years, the 62-year-old former Vancouver police officer was finally free.
“I didn’t put all my hopes in this,” Spencer said after the hearing. “So many times we got close.”
“It’s been 25 years, and I never thought we’d get here,” he said.
In February 1985, Spencer pleaded “no contest” — which is considered the same as a guilty plea — to sexually abusing his son, daughter and stepson. He was sentenced to two life terms, plus 14 years. He spent nearly 20 years in prison before outgoing Gov. Gary Locke commuted his sentence in 2004.
Throughout it all, Spencer maintained his innocence.
On Wednesday morning, Spencer appeared before Clark County Superior Court Judge Robert Lewis to withdraw his guilty pleas to the 11 felony charges. That same morning, Senior Deputy Prosecutor John Fairgrieve said the prosecutor’s office was dismissing the charges without prejudice.
Those were the words Spencer waited more than two decades to hear. Outside of the courtroom, Spencer was embraced by friends, family, his children and his wife.
“I can live with what I’ve got,” he said. “I didn’t expect an apology. I think that might be asking too much.”