2nd man headed to trial for shooting death in roadway robbery

Ryan Horton

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A second man is headed to trial for the fatal shooting of a motorist who was lured into a robbery on a rural roadway near Mercersburg.

Ryan Horton
Ryan Horton

Ryan Horton, 27, was held for trial following a preliminary hearing on Thursday.

Horton and two co-defendants, 19-year-old Christian Harris and 22-year-old Emily Tucker, all of McConnellsburg, are charged with criminal homicide, robbery and related charges in the killing of 60-year-old Edward Gilhart.

Police said Gilhart, of Maryland, was on his way to work on the early morning of June 2 when he was shot to death on Buchanan Trail West in Peters Township. His body was left on the road and run over by another motorist, and his SUV was found about 25 miles away in Fulton County.

Harris testified that the men plotted to lure a passing motorist into a robbery by planting a duffel bag on the roadway. He said Horton told him, “We’re going to make a come up” – referring to getting money – and they would have handguns for a “worst case scenario.”

Christian Harris, left, and Emily Tucker (submitted)
Christian Harris, left, and Emily Tucker (submitted)

“I only knew about the robbery,” he said. “I didn’t know we were going to take someone’s life.”

Harris told police that he and Horton waited behind a rock and approached the victim when he stopped. Harris said the victim pleaded for his life, saying, “Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot!” He said Horton told him to “shut the (expletive) up.”

Harris said Horton fired three shots, and when the victim fell to his knees, Horton walked up to him and shot him in the head, according to the complaint. Harris testified Horton took five to six $20 bills from the victim’s wallet.

Harris testified Horton took five to six $20 bills from Gilhart’s wallet.

Edward Gilhart
Edward Gilhart

Harris admitted to holding a gun and pointing it at Gilhart, but he said Horton fired all the shots.

“I was scared. I was in shock. I didn’t know this was going to happen,” he said.

Under examination from the prosecutor, Harris said he tried to convince Horton the robbery wouldn’t work.

Horton was expressionless during the hearing, but he watched Harris and Tucker as they testified.

Franklin County Coroner Jeffrey Conner testified that Gilhart was shot in the shoulder and died from the gunshot wound to the head, not from being struck by the vehicle because he didn’t find any bruising. Results of the autopsy are pending.

Police said Tucker drove Harris and Horton to Buchanan Trail West and followed Horton, her ex-boyfriend, as he drove Gilhart’s SUV to Fulton County. Police found the vehicle against a tree with anti-freeze poured inside.

Harris waived his preliminary hearing last month. Tucker’s hearing is scheduled for July 26.

Tucker testified in a separate simple assault case also headed to trial. Tucker said Horton on June 6 pushed her to the floor and pushed her teeth into her lips. She said he apologized after assaulting her, saying, “I’ll never get that mad again. I love you.”

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