- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 22, 2022

A man admitted to murdering six people throughout Philadelphia between 2016 and 2018 in his guilty plea Wednesday, four of whom he killed to fulfill contracts with a drug trafficker, according to federal prosecutors.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania said Ernest Pressley, 42, of Philadelphia, pleaded guilty to four counts of use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire, as well as one count of conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire.

Those charges were related to murders Pressley carried out in 2017 and 2018. He also admitted to killing two other people in 2016 and 2017 and attempting to kill a woman in 2018 as a part of his guilty plea.



“We’ve long known that much of Philadelphia’s violent crime is committed by a discrete group of chronic offenders,”  Jacqueline Maguire, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division, said in the press release. “Ernest Pressley is a case in point. … He’s an obvious menace with zero respect for human life and the city is unequivocally safer with him behind bars.”

Philadelphia police and the FBI first began investigating Pressley for the murder of a victim named S.S. in September 2018 when surveillance footage from the night before showed Pressley with the victim at a bar.

Pressley was arrested in connection with S.S.’s murder within a week after authorities opened their investigation. This is when they learned he was responsible for other murders in the city.

Two of those were tow truck drivers who were killed a day apart in January 2017.

The attorney’s office said that Pressley agreed to kill a victim known as K.F. in exchange for cash in order to prevent K.F. from testifying as a witness at an assault trial.

To conceal the real reason for his plan to kill K.F., Pressley randomly chose to kill a victim known as E.R. on Jan. 12, 2017, to frame the deaths as a feud between two drivers. He killed K.F. the following day.

Pressley also admitted to killing a victim known as M.R. while the victim worked on a car at a garage in January 2017.

All four of Pressley’s murders were carried out as paid contracts for a drug trafficker, according to the attorney’s office. His conviction landed him a mandatory life sentence in prison.

Pressley also admitted to shooting a victim known as C.Y. to death in July 2016 as the victim sat on the porch of a home. 

And in July 2018, Pressley told authorities that he knew the location of another man wanted dead by a drug trafficker. That information resulted in the killing of a victim known as Y.H., who was mistakenly identified as the target of the contract.

Pressley admitted to attempting to kill a woman as she walked into her home in July 2018. The woman was shot in her arm and survived the incident.

• Matt Delaney can be reached at mdelaney@washingtontimes.com.

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