As trial looms, motive still unclear in homicide of Exxon clerk

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

When the first-degree murder trial of Mark Anthony Ellis begins in York County Court this week, the public could learn why he allegedly gunned down Exxon clerk Aditya Anand.

Police and prosecutors have said Ellis fatally shot 44-year-old "Sunny" Anand about 5:45 a.m. Oct. 17, 2017, at the Exxon on the corner of Richland Avenue and West Market Street over an "ongoing domestic situation."

However, in addition to first-degree murder, Ellis also is charged with attempted robbery and second-degree murder, which is murder committed during the course of another felony.

Authorities so far haven't spoken publicly about motive in the case. Prosecutors aren't required to provide motive to jurors when trying criminal cases, but they generally do.

Opening statements are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 8, before Common Pleas Judge Craig T. Trebilcock, according to court records.

Chief deputy prosecutor Chuck Murphy and defense attorney Korey Leslie will deliver those opening statements.

Ellis, 30, of Baltimore, remains in York County Prison without bail.

The background: York City Police Detective Andy Baez, who filed charges against Ellis on Nov. 1, 2017, testified at the man's preliminary hearing in January 2018 that video surveillance caught Ellis walking into the store, approaching the counter where Anand was and speaking to him.

Mark Ellis

"Immediately he pulls out the handgun, (and) a shot is fired," Baez said.

The bullet missed Anand, who put his hands up and ran out a side door, at which point Ellis fired at him again, the detective testified.

Ellis then left the Exxon store, Baez said. Surveillance footage didn't capture what happened after Anand ran outside.

Anand was found mortally wounded outside the store, according to Baez, who said that Ellis and Anand were the only two people in the store at the time.

Baez said an autopsy showed Anand suffered a gunshot wound to the chest that had entered through his left arm.

Attendees signed a board during a vigil for Exxon employee Aditya Anand, who was shot and killed while working Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017. Bill Kalina photo

Identification: After the homicide, police released surveillance photos of the killer, and they caught the attention of Tabitha Miller.

Miller testified at Ellis' preliminary hearing that she immediately recognized the person in the photos as Ellis.

She said she and Ellis were in a relationship for nine years until she broke it off in March 2017 when she moved from York to Lancaster County.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.