DA Tom Kearney
DA Tom Kearney

County officials are looking into whether the death of a York City man two weeks ago was related to injuries he suffered when he was shot more than two decades ago.

Juan Sanchez, 36, of the 400 block of West Market Street, died Feb. 13, York County Coroner Pam Gay said.

Sanchez was paralyzed when he was shot in the spine in York City on June 9, 1992, according to York City Police Capt. Russ Tschopp.

An autopsy was performed on Sanchez's body Monday at Allentown's Lehigh Valley Hospital. Because other testing is still being done, the cause and manner of the man's death has not yet been determined, Gay said.

Coroner Pam Gay
Coroner Pam Gay

'One step at a time': If there's evidence Sanchez died as a result of his injuries or paralysis, and his death is ruled a homicide, the shooter could be charged, York County District Attorney Tom Kearney said.

"We've got to take this one step at a time," he said. "The first question is: Is the death the result of the shooting? And that's a big if."

Kearney said that as district attorney, it's his responsibility to look into these types of deaths, but said it's premature for him to make any judgments about what he will or won't be doing.

"We're basically at the very beginning of the process," he said. "This investigation is in its infancy. ... There are a lot of hurdles we will need to overcome, even assuming the death is directly related to the shooting."

Shooter served time: Kearney said if charges are filed, double jeopardy wouldn't be an issue — despite the fact Sanchez's shooter has already served prison time.

"(That is) because the element of the offense, being the death, had not occurred at the time (the shooter) was tried and convicted," the district attorney said.

Jose Ariel Negron pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and was sentenced to eight to 16 years in prison, according to court records. The 43-year-old could not be reached for comment.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com.