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  • Writer's pictureJ. Sutton

Contract Killer Ernest Pressley Given 5 Life Sentences

On 16th of May 2023 Ernest Pressley was handed 5 consecutive life sentences by United States District Judge Eduardo C. Robreno for the murders he was hired to commit. He pleaded guilty to all charges in September 2022 and was sentenced for these crimes this week.


His charges include one count of conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire, four counts of use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire, in connection with Pressley's role in murdering four victims in Philadelphia between 2017 and 2018, in exchange for money. This also accounted for his role in the killing of two other victims in 2016 and 2017 and the attempted murder of a woman in 2018. 


Ernest Pressley

On September 1st, 2018 Pressley was identified as a suspect in the shooting of Shawn Small which occurred the early hours of that morning in a Philadelphia car park. Detectives noticed Pressley could be linked to both the suspect and the location. On the same day of the shooting in close proximity to the crime scene and time of the shooting Pressley can be seen in surveillance footage obtained by authorities. The previous evening footage was also retrieved showing Pressley with the suspect at a bar only a few hours before. On September 7th, 2018 Ernest was arrested in connection with the murder.


Upon further investigation into Pressley links to other crimes started to surface. Heading the investigation was Philadelphia Police Department joined with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They found that Pressley was responsible for the unsolved killings of two tow truck drivers for A. Bob's Towing who were killed on January 12th and 13th, 2017, and the shooting of another driver caught in crossfire. 


In a bigger scheme Pressley had been hired to kill one of the drivers so they couldn't give evidence in court over an assault case. The driver who was injured and the other driver who was killed were just collateral damage in a broader plan.


Pressley was hired to kill Khayyan Fruster the person testifying but it would look too obvious that he was being targeted because of the assault case. It was agreed that Pressley kill one random driver and the actual target to make it look like the company was being targeted rather than the person working for the company.


The first victim Eric Robinson who was the driver chosen at random, was shot to death as he left work on the 12th of January 2017. On the 13th of January 2017 the intended targeted was shot and killed as he left his home and got into the passenger seat of his truck, which was being driven by a co-worker at the time. The co-worker driving was also shot by Pressley but his injuries were not fatal.


As the investigation came to a head Pressley had been connected to another shooting only a few days previous to the double murder he had just committed. The shooting of Maurice Riley happened while he was working on his vehicle at a garage near the intersection of East Sharpnack. His murder could be linked to Pressley and a local drug trafficker. Maurice Riley was shot and killed on January 11th 2017.


Maurice Riley

Pressley admitted that he murdered the four victims in exchange for money during his plea in September2022. His co-conspirator and the solicitor of the murders was a drug trafficker. They would communicate via mobile phone to plan the hits and decide the most efficient way to do it. Once Pressley had completed the job successfully he would be paid.


Pressley admitted that on July 19, 2016, he shot and killed another person while they were sat on the porch of a residence near West Olney Avenue, Philadelphia. Pressley also admitted to his role in supplyimg intel on the location of a man he knew was wanted dead by a Philadelphia drug trafficker. The information he gave resulted in the death Yasir Hopkins, a man who was killed as the result of mistaken identity on July 24, 2018.


Pressley also divulged that he had attempted to kill a woman as she arrived at her Philadelphia home on North Woodstock Street on July 9, 2018. Explaining he had shot at her resulting in her sustaining none life threatening injuries to her arm. Pressley had ransacked her home and stolen money and jewelry too. Which he later attempted to sell, several hours after the shooting. He was seen and identified as the person who sold a woman's Rolex watch at a pawn shop shortly after committing the offence.


"Taking a cold-blooded killer like Ernest Pressley off the street for five consecutive life sentences is a prime example of why the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Department of Justice make tackling violent crime a priority,” said  U.S. Attorney Romero.

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