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Two men charged with murder in Ardmore over a botched sale of an illegal gun

A third man was charged with illegally transferring a firearm used in the killing.

The scene of a shooting on Ardmore Ave. near Spring Ave. in Lower Merion Township on July 10, 2021.
The scene of a shooting on Ardmore Ave. near Spring Ave. in Lower Merion Township on July 10, 2021.Read moreCHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer

Three men were charged Sunday in connection to the shooting death of a 19-year-old Philadelphia man in a car near the Ardmore Community Center involving the sale of an untraceable “ghost gun.”

Micah Colbert, 19, of Ardmore, and Elijah Smith, 21, of Philadelphia, were charged with murder, robbery and related charges in the shooting death of 19-year-old Layth Evans of Philadelphia, who was shot in a vehicle in the 100 block of Ardmore Avenue in Lower Merion Township. A third man, Dorian Harris, 21, of Ardmore, was charged with illegally transferring a firearm allegedly used in the killing.

Colbert and Smith arranged a meeting with Evans at about 3 p.m. Saturday to purchase a “ghost gun” from him, according to eyewitness accounts, video surveillance, text messages and cellphone records cited in the criminal complaints. A “ghost gun” is a firearm assembled from parts and is untraceable because it does not have a serial number.

Colbert used a firearm belonging to Harris to fatally shoot the victim, according to a statement by Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele and Lower Merion Township Police Superintendent Michael J. McGrath.

A witness who saw one of the suspects leave the vehicle parked near the Ardmore Community Center found Evans slumped in the driver’s seat. He had been shot once in the face, according to an autopsy. Police recovered a spent 9 mm casing from the backseat floor of the vehicle, and recovered $500 from the driver’s-side floorboard.

About three hours after the shooting, Harris walked into the Lower Merion Police Station to report that his Glock 19 semi-automatic weapon had been taken and used by his roommate, Colbert. Harris turned over the weapon to detectives. Video evidence and eyewitness accounts confirm that Harris was not present at the shooting.

A ghost gun was also recovered from the shared bedroom of Colbert and Harris; it is believed to have been the victim’s.

Harris told detectives that Colbert had been negotiating the purchase of the ghost gun for several days. Evans wanted $1,000 for the gun, but Colbert had only $600 and agreed to pay the additional $400 later, he said.

The three defendants are awaiting arraignment by Magisterial District Judge Karen Zucker, who will set bail for Harris. Colbert and Smith, who face first-degree murder charges, will be kept in the Montgomery County Correctional Facility.