Murder victim Sharrod Snellings had these photos taken with his namesake son not long before being fatally shot.
Murder victim Sharrod Snellings had these photos taken with his namesake son not long before being fatally shot.

As he pleaded guilty to murder Wednesday in York County Court, Richard Larry Nolden Jr. turned to his victim's crying loved ones and spoke.

"To the family: Justice won't help -- forgiveness will," he said. "Please don't judge me. I apologize to each and every one of you."

Nolden, 22, of the 200 block of Harding Court, showed no emotion as he made the statement, or as he pleaded guilty to third-degree murder for the Jan. 23, 2012, slaying.

As part of a negotiated plea agreement, Nolden was sentenced to 15 to 40 years in state prison and ordered to pay $4,226 in restitution to the family of his victim.

After the hearing, the family of Sharrod Snellings said they weren't moved by Nolden's words.

"God forgives.

Richard Nolden Jr.
Richard Nolden Jr.
I don't," said Philip Mann, Snellings' stepfather. "He can rot in hell."

"He should save all his apologies for his (own) son," said Violet Astacio, an aunt of the victim.

Fatherless: Snellings and Nolden each has a young child. Sharrod Snellings Jr. was only three months old when his father was fatally shot at the corner of North Queen and East Philadelphia streets.

Nolden admitted killing Snellings. He gave no reason why.

But during a guilty-plea hearing in January, co-defendant O'Brian Sipe Sr. told presiding Common Pleas Judge Michael E. Bortner that Snellings and Jevaughn Daemar Murphy blamed him for a robbery he didn't commit.

'Back and forth': "We had an altercation with them," Sipe said. "They shot, we shot. We were going back and forth with it. We just kept going back and forth."

The other incidents of gunfire didn't happen the same day as the homicide.

York City Police said Nolden drove by the corner in an SUV and fired about seven gunshots, hitting Snellings a number of times. One of those bullets struck Snellings in the back, and that was the fatal shot, officials said.

Sipe was in the SUV with Nolden and fired at Murphy, who was standing across the street from Snellings, police said.

O’Brian Sipe
O'Brian Sipe

Sipe pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree murder for shooting Murphy and was sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison.

Family emotional: Many of Snellings' family members spoke in court during the January hearing, which became contentious when they screamed and cursed at Sipe.

On Wednesday, the family cried quietly and allowed three cousins to speak for them.

Ryan Henry spoke at length about how his family has been devastated by the loss.

"You made my cousin another statistic," he told Nolden.

Breezeway messages: Henry recalled walking through the breezeway where Snellings fled to after being shot, and where he died. People have written messages there about him.

"I found it hard to keep my composure reading all the messages on the walls," Henry said.

He described his cousin as funny and kind, and said having a baby changed Snellings.

"I know Sharrod had made a decision to turn his life around. ... He set out to right his wrongs and get his GED," Henry told the judge. "He loved that little boy before he even met him."

-- Staff writer Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at levans@yorkdispatch.com.