June trial date sought for brothers charged in fatal shooting

Aimee Ambrose
York Dispatch

Two brothers could potentially go to trial together in June in a murder case where a victim was shot while trying to intervene in a dispute over marijuana.

And one of the suspects, who was a minor at the time of the shooting, has decided to not argue to be tried as a juvenile.

Ryan and Nicholas Strada each appeared for hearings before the new judge in the case Thursday. There, the prosecution said attorneys on both sides are coordinating on arranging witnesses and scheduling, and they plan to file a joint request for dates in June to hold the trial. The estimation was for a possible five-day trial.

Ryan Strada's attorney, Chief Deputy Public Defender Diana Spurlin, said in an email the attorneys have agreed to make a request for the trial to begin June 27.  

Ryan Strada
Nicholas Strada

Ryan Strada, 21, of Manchester, and Nicholas Strada, 18, of York City, are both charged with second-degree murder along with robbery, burglary and conspiracy counts in the shooting death of Whispering Wind Bear Spirit at a home in May 2021.

The men, along with four other suspects, allegedly barged into the home of Ryan’s former roommate, Oscar Fink, in the 300 block of Smyser Street and accused Fink of stealing marijuana.

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As Ryan Strada and Fink got into a fight,  Spirit   tried to get the intruders out of the home and confronted Nicholas Strada, who had the gun, according to court documents. Court records show Nicholas   warned   Spirit to get down. But the gun fired, and the 41-year-old was shot, according to court documents. The brothers then allegedly fled the house.

 Spirit later died from the gunshot injury at a hospital.

Nicholas Strada was 17 years old at the time, about three months shy of his 18th birthday. A petition was filed last year, seeking to have him transferred and tried in juvenile court. But after undergoing an evaluation with the probation department, Strada’s attorney decided to withdraw the petition.

Judge Maria Musti-Cook heard the request Thursday and accepted it.

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The four other suspects — who face charges of robbery, burglary and conspiracy to commit both offenses — are Oscar David Cook, 19, of Spring Garden Township; Michael Page Stewart, 22, of Harrisburg; Jaden Tyler Landis, 18, of the Manchester area; and Phillip Cornelius Sullivan, 18, of York Haven. 

Ryan Strada, meanwhile, also is charged in three other separate cases related to drugs and weapons.   Spurlin sought to push hearings on those further out and address them after the murder trial.

Musti-Cook accepted the request and set a new hearing date in those cases for July 15.

— Aimee Ambrose can be reached at aambrose@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter: @aimee_TYD.