Suspect pleads no-contest in girlfriend's shooting death

Aimee Ambrose
York Dispatch

A West Manheim Township man pleaded no contest to accusations he shot and killed his girlfriend while she held their infant son nearly three years ago.

Joshua John Wertz

Joshua Wertz, 32, made the no-contest plea to a count of third-degree murder during a hearing last mon in the  York County Court of Common Pleas. He was then sentenced to 18-40 years in prison, court records show.

A count of first-degree murder was dismissed as part of the plea.

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Wertz was accused of shooting Nicole Cash, 26, of McSherrystown, in the head on Oct. 13, 2019, while they were in the basement of his father’s home along Sunset Drive near Hanover. Investigators said the two started arguing after they had been drinking, and that apparently led  to Wertz opening fire on Cash with an AR-15 rifle.

Police found Cash lying on a futon while holding a lighter and a smoking device. Their 9-month-old son was not injured.

Wertz’s father described the man as a “violent drunk” when interviewed by police.

The first-degree murder charge would have carried an automatic sentence of life in prison if Wertz had been convicted on that count.

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

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