Cops: Friend shoots friend dead in normally quiet Malvern

Drew Ferguson’s body was killed by a gunshot wound in the head.

  • Ferguson's longtime friend Merritt Dudas was taken into custody Tuesday.
  • Dudas confessed to killing Ferguson, but his motive is not yet clear.

Police have made an arrest in a grisly homicide that has shocked the normally quiet Main Line borough of Malvern.

Investigators on Monday found the body of Drew Ferguson, 21, inside his apartment on the second floor of a detached garage behind his grandmother's home on Miner Street. He had been shot in the head sometime Friday morning, according to police.

Ferguson's longtime friend Merritt Dudas, 24, was taken into custody Tuesday. According to a criminal complaint, Dudas confessed to killing Ferguson, stuffing his body inside a sleeping bag, rolling the bag up in a tarp and stashing it underneath a bean bag chair. Dudas allegedly stole Ferguson's Honda Civic, wallet, phone and keys. Investigators said he then fled to his girlfriend's home on the unit block of Russell Circle in Collegeville.

Dudas was charged with first degree murder, possession of an instrument of crime, robbery, abuse of a corpse, among other charges. He was denied bail and taken to Chester County Prison. A hearing has been set for Nov. 27.

Police checked Ferguson's garage apartment Monday after his mother filed a missing persons report. There, officers saw three bullet holes in the windows and walls and a spent shell casing on the floor. A detective uncovered Ferguson's bloody body under what he described as "a mound of debris," according to the complaint.

Investigators soon found Ferguson's car parked outside Dudas' girlfriend's house, where the suspect had been living. The girlfriend's father allegedly told police a .380-caliber handgun and ammunition were missing from the home. Police said they recovered from Dudas' living area the gun — believed to be the murder weapon — as well as Ferguson's personal belongings.

The complaint states Dudas and his family used to live next door to Ferguson, and that Dudas even lived with the victim for a time. The exact motive for the gruesome slaying is unclear. Investigators indicated the two men may have had an argument, possibly over money, in the days leading up to the alleged attack.

Dudas has faced other minor charges in the past in Chester County, starting in 2008.  Charges included possession of marijuana, which was withdrawn, as well as disorderly conduct, burglary, criminal tresspass, and operating a motor vehicle without a valid inspection sticker. He was cited for speeding in 2011 in Montgomery County.