Man pleads guilty to southern York County murder, prison smuggling case still active
A former Lancaster County man has admitted to driving another man to a secluded area of southeastern York County and fatally shooting him more than three years ago.
Lleland Grant Wade, 35, also formerly of Mississippi, was scheduled to go on trial Monday.
Wade appeared in York County Court on Thursday, where he pleaded guilty to the felonies of third-degree murder, theft and carrying a firearm without a license, court records state. He also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor version of possession of a firearm prohibited.
It was an open plea, meaning there was no agreed-upon sentence, defense attorney and public defender Ron Jackson Jr. confirmed.
"The judge has complete discretion," Jackson said. In Pennsylvania, a third-degree murder conviction carries a maximum possible sentence of 20 to 40 years in prison.
Presiding Common Pleas Judge Harry M. Ness ordered a presentence investigation be done to help him determine the proper punishment and set Wade's sentencing for Sept. 29, court records state.
In exchange for his plea, a charge of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder was dropped, records state. Wade remains in York County Prison awaiting sentencing.
Wade's codefendant, Kevin Michael Galvin, also is awaiting sentencing. His murder charges were dropped in 2019 when follow-up investigation determined that although he, Wade and murder victim Aaron Wollman all drove to York County together, Galvin didn't know Wade was going to kill Wollman, prosecutors have said.
In September 2019, Galvin, 59, also of Lancaster County, pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor of obstructing the administration of law for helping Wade cover up the murder and was released on unsecured bail awaiting sentencing.
But on May 13, Judge Ness issued a bench warrant for Galvin's arrest, court records state. On Thursday, Ness revoked Galvin's bail and sent him back to York County Prison, records state. No sentencing date has been set, according to court records.
The background: Wade killed Wollman after hearing rumors that Wollman had sexually assaulted some women he knew, state police have said.
Police have not said whether there was any truth to those rumors.
Court documents state that Wade took Galvin and Wollman to Lower Chanceford Township in the early-morning hours of April 16, 2018, where Wade shot Wollman "until the firearm was empty."
Wollman and Galvin believed they were going to a drug deal, officials have said.
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. that day, according to state police.
He'd been shot seven times, police said — three times in the head and four times in the back.
Wade was arrested at the Days Inn in East Lampeter Township, Lancaster County, the next day. State police evacuated the hotel before arresting him.
After Wade was arrested, he told state police that he tricked Wollman into going with him by making him believe they were going to buy drugs, officials have said.
Drug-smuggling case: Wade also remains charged in an unrelated case with the felonies of drug possession with intent to deliver, conspiracy to commit that offense and possessing prison contraband.
Wade's girlfriend, Chelsea Cochran, remains charged in the case, as does York County Corrections Officer Joshua Antonio Martinez, who remains on administrative leave, defense attorney George Margetas confirmed Thursday.
Investigators have said they focused on Wade, who intel suggested had been a regular buyer of Suboxone in the prison and who officials suspected of graduating to being a distributor inside the prison.
Suboxone is an opioid used to help opioid addicts in recovery, but like any opioid painkiller, it can also be abused.
Calls, letters monitored: Wade's phone calls and letters were monitored, as were those of other inmates suspected of separately bringing in drugs, investigators have said.
On June 6, state troopers followed Martinez as he left York County Prison and drove to Cochran's home in Elizabethtown, Lancaster County, where he took something from the mailbox, police have said.
After obtaining a search warrant, police found a bag in Martinez's trunk with $2,920 cash and 75 Suboxone strips, known on the street as "oranges," police have said.
Also in the car was a letter from Wade and allegedly to Martinez, giving him directions to retrieve something from Cochran's mailbox, police have said.
"At no time did he have any intention on bringing contraband into the prison," Margetas has told The York Dispatch. "He may be guilty of having the money in his possession, but that's it."
When told it sounded as if he was implying Martinez intended to keep the money but not deliver drugs, Margetas replied, "The evidence does point to that, doesn't it?"
— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.