Man who murdered Hancock resident found dead in prison

by Geoff Fox

The man serving life in prison in the murder of a Hancock man in 2016 was found dead in his cell at the State Correctional Institution at Somerset last week.

Ryan Lynn Horton, 34, was found unresponsive in his cell on April 11, Superintendent of the prison Eric Tice said in a release.

Prison staff and medical personnel immediately responded and provided lifesaving measures. EMS arrived and advanced life support measures were continued.

Horton was declared deceased at 6:16 p.m., the release said.

Horton was serving a life sentence for the first-degree murder of Edward Gilhart in 2016. He had been at SCI Somerset since February 19, 2021.

In accordance with state policy, Pennsylvania State Police were notified and conducting an investigation.

An official cause of death is to be determined by the Somerset County Coroner’s Office, the release said.

Gilhart was murdered on June 2, 2016, in what was described as a staged robbery scheme near Mercersburg in Franklin County.

Gilhart was on his way from his Hancock home to work between 3 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. on the morning of Thursday, June 2 when he stopped his car to examine a duffle bag in the middle of the road that had been placed there by Horton and Christian Harris.

Horton then came from behind a rock, shooting Gilhart multiple times and removing the contents of his wallet, including $24 in cash.

A motorist alerted police to Gilhart’s body in the roadway around 4 a.m. that morning. The driver told police they had tried to swerve to miss hitting the body but was unable to avoid it.

When police examined Gilhart’s body, they found he had suffered multiple gunshot wounds and injuries consistent with being struck by a vehicle.

Gilhart’s vehicle was found in Fulton County along Mill Hill Road – approximately 25 miles away from the murder scene.

Horton dumped Gilhart’s vehicle in Fulton County and poured antifreeze throughout the Kia Sportage. Police later found the vehicle still running and the front bumper resting against a tree along the west side of the road.

Pennsylvania State Police got a break in the case on Monday, June 6, 2016, when Emily Tucker arrived at the McConnellsburg barracks to report a domestic assault.

During the investigation, police found that three people – Tucker, Harris and Horton – had come up with a plan to stage a roadside robbery and then carried it out, leading to Gilhart’s death.