York man who shot at Northern Regional cop gets decades in prison
A York man accused of firing an illegal gun at a police officer after firing six times at his own brother has been sentenced to 20 to 40 years in state prison.
Eduardo Portell-Llanos, 25, fired a bullet that missed Northern Regional Police Officer Isaiah Emenheiser by somewhere between 6 inches to 2 feet, according to senior deputy prosecutor Justin Roberts.
Portell-Llanos had been ruled incompetent to stand trial because of mental illness, but in August he was deemed mentally ill but competent to stand trial, according to court records. He had been scheduled to stand trial starting May 21.
On May 18, he appeared before Common Pleas Judge Maria Musti Cook and pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted homicide and one count each of burglary and carrying a firearm without a license, and pleaded no contest to assault on a law-enforcement officer. That last charge by law carries a mandatory 20- to 40-year sentence.
The background: Portell-Llanos rammed a vehicle driven by his brother, Giancarlo Roque-Llanos, about 11:30 a.m. May 6, 2015, while they were driving separate vehicles on Susquehanna Trail North in Conewago Township.
He then shot at his brother six times with an illegally possessed Glock pistol.
After crashing his car in a field, Portell-Llanos broke into the basement of a home in the 100 block of Sylvan Way to look for his brother, who had fled, Roberts said, adding the defendant "hunted him through the neighborhood."
But Emenheiser was already in the basement, having seen the open door. He was responding to the shots-fired call.
Portell-Llanos fired once at Emenheiser, Roberts said, with the bullet missing the officer and hitting a water heater.
At that point, Portell-Llanos' gun was out of ammunition and he turned to flee, and Emenheiser shot him in the buttocks, police said.
The wounded gunman then tried to steal a motorcycle and get away, but Emenheiser and other officers tackled him and restrained him, police have said.
Judge questions plea: In court Friday, Cook asked why Portell-Llanos was pleading guilty to the other charges but pleading no contest to assault on an officer.
Through a Spanish-language interpreter, the defendant replied, "Because I don't remember everything that was happening."
The judge wasn't satisfied and noted that one of the two attempted homicide charges was for the attempted shooting of Emenheiser, and Portell-Llanos was pleading guilty to that. (A no contest plea has the same effect as a guilty plea.)
She then asked the defendant what he remembered of the day.
"I remember that I had shot at my brother," Portell-Llanos said through the interpreter. "I remember entering into a basement. But I don't remember firing at the police officer. ... I am not in agreement that I shot at the police officer."
The defendant said he was angry at his brother but didn't say why.
"I found the pistol, and I didn't know what I was doing," he said, but he added he intended to kill his brother.
Roberts said the defendant previously told state police that he saw movement in the basement and fired.
Wanted to 'frighten' cop? Cook asked a series of questions designed to get at the truth and asked Portell-Llanos why he shot the water heater.
"To frighten the (police officer) or to scare him," he said.
Eventually, Cook was satisfied with the defendant's confession and accepted his plea.
As part of his negotiated plea agreement, Portell-Llanos was sentenced to 20 to 40 years in prison, with credit for the 1,109 days he had served.
Roberts said Emenheiser, Northern Regional Police Chief Mark Bentzel and the state trooper who investigated all were in agreement with the negotiated deal.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.