A DANGEROUS killer for hire has admitted to “cold-bloodedly” murdering six people and attempting to kill a seventh, prosecutors said.
Ernest Pressley, 42, will spend life in prison after pleading guilty to six killings between 2016 and 2018, four of which he did for money from an unidentified drug trafficker, Pennsylvania court officials said Wednesday.
United States Attorney Jacqueline C Romero announced the Philadelphia man’s guilty plea,
“By his own admission, Ernest Pressley is an incredibly dangerous individual with no qualms about accepting money to calculated and cold-bloodedly murder anyone,” Romero said in a statement.
The convicted killer was taken in by officials in September 2018 after he was captured on chilling surveillance footage near where a Philadelphia man was shot and killed in a parking lot.
Less than a week after the crime, Pressley was taken and officials launched a years-long investigation that revealed a slew of violent crimes.
Investigators found that three of Pressley’s victims were brutally killed in a 24-hour period in 2017.
On January 11, Pressley aimed to kill tow truck driver Kayyan Fruster who was set to testify as a witness at an assault trial, FOX 29 reported.
But first, he shot and killed one of Fruster’s coworkers “at random” in order to throw off investigators, police said.
Pressley aimed to disguise his executions as a feud between rival tow truck companies in Philadelphia, prosecutors said.
The day after heartlessly killing his first victim, he followed Fruster into the cab of his tow truck on January 12.
The hired killer opened fire, murdering Fruster and wounding another employee who was sitting at the wheel.
Investigators also found Pressley killed another the night before Fruster’s death at the request of the drug trafficker.
Pressley was indirectly responsible for the fourth hired killing as he admitted to giving up the location of someone who was wanted dead by someone in the Philly drug trade.
Investigators additionally identified him as the person who shot a victim on January 11, 2017, while he worked on his vehicle at a garage.
The earliest murder Pressley admitted to was shooting on July 19, 2016.
The killer said he murdered a man who was sitting on his porch but did not give a clear motive.
Pressley admitted to attempting to kill a woman when he shot her in the arm after she had arrived at her home, prosecutors said.
The woman survived and discovered her home had been ransacked and several items were stolen.
Pressley was identified several hours later as having sold a Rolex watch belonging to the woman at a pawn shop.
“With today’s guilty plea and thanks to the dedicated efforts of the investigators on this case, this defendant will now spend the rest of his life behind bars for these heinous crimes,” Romero said.
“We’ve long known that much of Philadelphia’s violent crime is committed by a discrete group of chronic offenders,” said Jacqueline Maguire with the FBI.
“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.”
Pressley pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire and four counts of use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire, and other crimes.
His guilty plea and conviction carried a mandatory sentence of life in prison.