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DA: Motive in Lower Chanceford homicide being investigated
York County DA Dave Sunday (left), PSP Lt. Brandon Daniels (center) and lead investigator Trooper Jonathan Confer (right) discuss the homicide of Aaron Wollman.
State troopers investigating the shooting homicide of Aaron Wollman, whose body was found in a remote area of southeastern York County on Monday, heard a familiar refrain during a whirlwind of police interviews.
"One name kept coming up repeatedly," said state police Lt. Brandon Daniels — Lleland Grant Wade.
Daniels, commander of the criminal investigation unit of the Lancaster barracks of state police, said troopers interviewed about 15 people the day Wollman's body was discovered in Lower Chanceford Township.
"Most of our interviews were (with) joint acquaintances of both (Wade and Wollman)," Daniels said during a news conference at the state police barracks in York County on Thursday, April 19.
The body of Wollman, 25, of Denver, Lancaster County, was found near the corner of Bare Road and Furnace Road (Route 425) about 7 a.m. Monday, April 16, according to state police.
He'd been shot seven times, police said — three times in the head and four times in the back. York County Coroner Pam Gay has ruled his death a homicide.
Killed at scene? Daniels declined to say whether investigators believe Wollman was killed at the site where his body was found.
But when asked whether there was evidence at the scene to help police make that determination, Daniels seemed to suggest there was.
"There was a significant amount of evidence at the scene that was important to the case," he told The York Dispatch.
Daniels noted the area where Wollman's body was found is secluded. He indicated police haven't found a connection between York County and either man.
"We don't have any reason to believe there was anything specific about that location," he said.
A nearby resident told troopers he heard a loud vehicle engine and multiple gunshots about 3½ hours before Wollman's body was found.
Wade, 32, remains in York County Prison without bail, charged with homicide. But charging documents state that offense will eventually become a first-degree murder charge.
Formerly of Mississippi, Wade has recently been in the Lancaster County area, but not at a fixed address, police said. Daniels couldn't immediately say how long Wade has been in south-central Pennsylvania.
Stolen money? Charging documents state that prior to the homicide, Wade complained to someone about Wollman stealing money from him.
And the victim's cellphone, recovered by troopers at the crime scene, showed texts between Wade and Wollman "that referenced a possible drug transaction," documents state.
But both Daniels and York County District Attorney Dave Sunday said it's premature to publicly discuss an apparent motive.
"We have potential evidence of motive that is currently being investigated," Sunday said. "At this point it would be inappropriate for me to comment on that motive."
Tried to ditch gun? An acquaintance of Wade's told troopers that he was riding in Wade's car about 4:15 p.m. Tuesday, April 17 — the day after the homicide — when Wade tried to give him a handgun and told him he was trying to get rid of it, documents allege.
When the acquaintance asked why, Wade allegedly said he'd used the gun to kill Wollman, police allege.
It's not the only incriminating statement Wade made, according to charging documents.
He told another acquaintance over the phone that he'd been with Wollman in the hours before the homicide and had driven Wollman to the "Wrightsville area," documents state.
Wade apparently didn't know it, but troopers were listening in on that phone call, according to charging documents.
Hotel evacuated: Troopers were able to track Wade to a Days Inn outside Ronks, Lancaster County, on Tuesday, and they evacuated all guests but him, Daniels said.
"We simply had undercover units enter the (hotel), take over positions at the front desk as if they were staff," then phone each room and ask guests to leave their rooms, he said.
Guests were met in the hall by troopers, who escorted them out of the Days Inn and across the street to a different hotel, where state police had made arrangements to house them until Wade was in custody, according to Daniels.
Once all the hotel guests were safely evacuated, troopers arrested Wade, who surrendered without incident, Daniels said.
"I hope that our efforts give (Wollman's loved ones) a little peace during their time of sadness," he said.
No sleep: Troopers from York and Lancaster counties worked together around the clock for two days to solve the case, according to Daniels.
Also assisting were municipal police departments from both counties, he said.
DA Sunday said he called Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman to ask for assistance after Wollman's body was found and said Stedman didn't hesitate to offer whatever help was needed.
"And it was immediate and seamless," Sunday said, noting investigators from both sides of the Susquehanna River "worked hand-in-hand" to track down Wade.
"In the ensuing 48 hours, the work of the Pennsylvania State Police is exactly what we would hope for in the law enforcement of our community," Sunday said. "It's important for the community to know and understand that."
The investigation into Wollman's slaying remains active, Daniels said, as troopers continue to collect evidence and "seek out anyone else who may have played a role in these events."
Those with information are asked to call state police at 717-428-1011.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.