Crime

Rock Hill drug deal was rip off scam where shooter killed pot source, prosecutors say

Rock Hill police arrest three suspects, charge one with murder in apartment shooting

Rock Hill police arrested three men in connection to the shooting death of Justin Penland last month. Isaiah Hemphill was charged with murder, along with weapon and drug charges in the shooting. Shaun Welte and Donovan Allen were charged with acce
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Rock Hill police arrested three men in connection to the shooting death of Justin Penland last month. Isaiah Hemphill was charged with murder, along with weapon and drug charges in the shooting. Shaun Welte and Donovan Allen were charged with acce

A Rock Hill man faces 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to killing another man during a 2017 botched drug deal ripoff, prosecutors said.

Isaiah Ishmael Hemphill, 21, pleaded guilty Tuesday in York County criminal court to voluntary manslaughter, attempted armed robbery, and possession of a weapon during a violent crime in the October 2017 shooting death of Justin Penland, according to lawyers in the case and court records.

Prosecutors and Hemphill's lawyer negotiated a sentence of 20 years that will be officially set at a later date, said Misti Shelton, 16th Circuit assistant solicitor. As part of the plea agreement, a murder charge against Hemphill was dropped to manslaughter, Shelton said..

Penland, 26, was found shot to death in his vehicle after it crashed into a building at Mallard Pointe Apartments in Rock Hill, Shelton said.

Hemphill admitted to being the shooter in the attack that police and prosecutors say involved four defendants, Shelton said. Police said when arrests were made that others charged in the crime blocked Penland in at the apartments so that Penland could not escape.

"The defendants in this case reached out to the victim under the ruse to buy marijuana but the plan was to rob him," Shelton said.

Hemphill's lawyer, 16th Circuit Chief Public Defender Harry Dest, confirmed Hemphill's plea, but declined comment until sentencing.

Charges against the other defendants in the case remain pending, court records show.

Johnte Kaheem Williams, 20, is also charged with murder and other charges and remains jailed without bond. Donovan Kendrick Allen and Shaun Allen Welte, 18, remain jailed after being charged with attempted armed robbery, accessory to murder and other charges, jail and court records show.

Andrew Dys: 803-329-4065, @AndrewDysHerald
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