Was Lower Southampton woman's death a 'murder for hire'? Montco jury to decide

·4 min read

A Lower Southampton woman was fatally shot by two men in Lansdale nearly two years ago, at the direction of her girlfriend's ex-boyfriend, prosecutors argued Monday.

Chong Ling Dan, 50, concocted the plan to have Ricky Vance, 54, and Terrence Marche, 48, kill Ebony Pack, 30, who was dating Dan's ex-girlfriend at the time, Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Lindsey Mills said.

"This was a well-planned, well-executed, well-concealed murder for hire," she said.

During her opening statements at Dan and Vance's trial, which started Monday in Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, Mills said Dan wanted to get back at, and to punish his ex-girlfriend Jasmine Stokes, by killing Pack.

She was fatally shot while stopped at the intersection of East Hancock Street and Church Road about 10 p.m. Nov. 28, 2020.

Investigators said Stokes owed Dan money, and that their relationship had not ended well. Mills pointed to cellphone records and turnpike photo records that she said showed proof that Marche and Vance had followed Pack and killed her that night. She said a gunman "unloaded" at least 10 shots into Pack's vehicle that night.

"The motive of the shooter was to kill Ebony Pack," Mills said. "There was no goal other than to murder her."

But attorneys for the two men told jurors there was no evidence Dan or Vance were involved.

"We don't know who shot Ebony Pack," said Guy Sciolla, Dan's attorney. "(Investigators) don't know who shot Ebony Pack."

Dan arrested:Philadelphia man arrested in killing of Lower Southampton woman in Lansdale

Marche sought in killing:DA: Man sought in Lansdale killing of Lower Southampton woman

For subscribers:'I forgive you Howard': Driver in crash that killed 3 near Nockamixon State Park gets probation

John McMahon Jr., Vance's attorney, said his client never left Philadelphia that night. Vance, who was friends with Marche, lent Marche his car that night, and Marche seemed to be acting "not quite right" when he came back to return it, he said.

Vance's attorney said Vance was a construction worker who made good money, and sold marijuana on the side. He was not in need of any money, and Vance, who spent 20 years in prison for a robbery when he was much younger, did not want to be involved in something like that.

"Ricky Vance was not part of any 'murder for hire,'" McMahon told jurors.

Vance, he said, did not have contact with Dan before, during, or after the killing.

"He didn't know him at all," he said.

Vance was the first one arrested in the homicide last year, months after the killing. After that, authorities said Dan and Marche went to Honduras. Dan returned, however investigators have not been able to locate Marche, who also faces charges in Pack's death.

McMahon pointed out that Vance had cooperated with police, and did not try to hide or run away at any point during the investigation.

"He just did his thing like he always did," he said. Vance is expected to testify during the trial.

Montgomery County authorities said Vance's car was seen following Pack on the turnpike from the Bensalem entrance to the Fort Washington exit between 9:27 p.m. and 9:42 p.m. that night.

Marche was a mutual friend of Dan and Vance, and cellphone data showed all three of them were in the same vicinity in Philadelphia prior to the homicide, according to police. That data showed Vance and Marche headed back to near Vance's home together following Pack's death, police said.

Vance denied any involvement in the incident, however, police found gun residue inside his vehicle, which was consistent with a passenger shooting from his vehicle after pulling up alongside Pack's, authorities allege.

Ebony Pack was killed in a shooting in Lansdale in late November. Investigators are seeking information in the incident.
Ebony Pack was killed in a shooting in Lansdale in late November. Investigators are seeking information in the incident.

Sciolla, Dan's attorney, claimed there was no evidence that Dan orchestrated the killing. He claimed Stokes had changed her story to police many times since Pack's death.

"There's an evolution of lies here," he said.

He said her talking to police made Dan a suspect very shortly after the killing, adding that investigators did not explore people in Pack's life that could have been a suspect. He also questioned why Dan would do something to Pack, someone he did not know.

"If you're mad at (Stokes), why would you kill a third party?" Sciolla said.

He said Dan had gone to Honduras, but had come back to fight the charges against him.

Stokes was "holding" $19,000 for him, and when they split up, Dan demanded the money back, officials have said. She gave him $10,000, and spent the other $9,000, the DA's office said. Lansdale police said Dan had been abusive and harassed her after they broke up in July 2020.

Dan, of Philadelphia, is charged with first- and third-degree murder, solicitation to commit those offenses and conspiracy to commit those offenses. Vance, also of Philadelphia, is charged with first- and third-degree murder, conspiracy to commit those offenses and prohibited possession of a firearm.

Marche, of King of Prussia, faces the same charges as Vance.

The trial is expected to continue through the week.

This article originally appeared on Bucks County Courier Times: Trial begins for two in Lansdale killing of Lower Southampton woman