Authorities on Wednesday, March 10, 2021, searched for Lannon, a man wanted for questioning in a homicide in New Jersey and in the slayings of four people whose bodies were found inside a vehicle parked in a New Mexico airport garage. (Salem County Jail)

Authorities on Wednesday, March 10, 2021, searched for Lannon, a man wanted for questioning in a homicide in New Jersey and in the slayings of four people whose bodies were found inside a vehicle parked in a New Mexico airport garage. (Salem County Jail)

U.S. man charged with 1 murder says he killed 16, according to prosecutor

Sean Lannon, 47, said he killed not only his ex-wife and 3 others but also ‘11 other individuals’ in New Mexico

A man who is accused of killing a New Jersey man he says sexually abused him in childhood, and who was sought after the deaths of his ex-wife and three other people in New Mexico, says he is responsible for a total of 16 slayings, a prosecutor said — though authorities have yet to corroborate his claim.

Sean Lannon, 47, said that he killed not only his ex-wife and the three others, but also “11 other individuals” in New Mexico, NJ.com quoted Alec Gutierrez, an assistant prosecutor in suburban Philadelphia’s Gloucester County, New Jersey, as saying during a detention hearing Friday.

Authorities allege in court documents that the admission came in a phone call to a relative, who told investigators that Lannon expressed remorse. Lannon is so far charged with only the one death in New Jersey, and his lawyer says Lannon was provoked.

Police Lt. David Chavez in Lannon’s hometown of Grants, New Mexico, told the Albuquerque Journal that authorities have no indication that his claims about 11 other killings are true and that they aren’t aware of any missing-person or homicide reports that would fit his narrative.

“Is it possible? Sure it’s possible. Is it probable? No, probably not,” Chavez told the newspaper, saying authorities would investigate.

Lannon was arrested in St. Louis on March 10 after a search across several states. He was driving a car stolen from Michael Dabkowski, the New Jersey victim whose body had been found the same day, and is now behind bars in New Jersey.

He is accused of breaking into the 66-year-old Dabkowski’s home and beating him with a hammer, according to an affidavit.

Lannon is also a person of interest in the death of his wife and the three others in New Mexico. Authorities say a vehicle was discovered March 5, 80 miles (130 kilometres) from Grants in a garage at Albuquerque International Sunport, containing four bodies.

The bodies were identified as those of Jennifer Lannon, 39; Matthew Miller, 21; Jesten Mata, 40; and Randal Apostalon, 60. Sean Lannon lived 80 miles (130 kilometres) away in Grants.

Jennifer Lannon, Miller and Mata were friends, and Apostalon lived out of his car and was known to give rides for money, Grants police said. The bodies were found in Apostalon’s car.

Gutierrez said Friday that Lannon confessed to luring several victims to a home in New Mexico and dismembering some of them.

Jennifer Lannon’s brother, Chris Whitman, told Albuquerque TV station KOB that he was shocked to hear Sean Lannon had claimed responsibility for multiple killings.

“They were together for about nine years, and it’s just mind-boggling because it’s someone I welcomed into my home and we had Thanksgiving dinner together.”

Public defender Frank Unger challenged probable cause for the New Jersey murder charge, arguing that Lannon entered Dabkowski’s home in East Greenwich Township with permission and that the acts that followed amounted, at worst, to passion provocation manslaughter, NJ.com reported.

Dabkowski mentored Lannon and his twin brother through a Big Brothers program in the 1980s, NJ.com reported. Lannon told investigators that Dabkowski had sexually abused him as a child and that he went to the man’s home to retrieve sexually explicit photos.

Unger argued that Lannon didn’t want anyone “to have control over me any longer.” Dabkowski had “documented those sexual assaults, those rapes, by taking pictures of himself with Mr. Lannon in sexually compromised positions,” Unger said.

Unger said Lannon retrieved two hammers from Dabkowski’s garage and gave them to the victim, saying, “You’re going to need these. I don’t want to hurt you.”

“I would suggest that this fact alone illustrates this was not purposeful murder. He did not even bring a weapon to the home,” Unger said, arguing that Dabkowski attacked his client and was then killed.

New Jersey Superior Court Judge Mary Beth Kramer told prosecutors to confine their presentation to information relevant to the New Jersey case but allowed limited references to the New Mexico cases.

Gutierrez said that the New Mexico victims had been lured to a home and argued that the idea of Lannon having been invited into Dabkowski’s home “should be looked at through the lens of at least three prior incidents in New Mexico.”

Unger argued for pretrial release, saying his client had no prior convictions and is an Army veteran with an honourable discharge.

Lannon was born in Massachusetts and spent most of his early years in Gloucester County before he was deployed to Germany, Unger said. He has family in southern New Jersey, including his mother and sister, and could stay locally on electronic monitoring if released, the defender argued.

Gutierrez said Lannon adopted an assumed name to avoid detection when he returned to the East Coast and had spent a week in jail in New Mexico for failing to appear in court. It wasn’t clear what he had been cited with.

United States

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

North Cowichan councillor Kate Marsh. (File photo)
North Cowichan postpones decision on cell tower placement

But cell tower policy may be developed soon

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks at a press conference Monday, April 18. (B.C. Government image)
New COVID-19 cases tick down on the central Island

New cases held to single digits three days in a row

CVRD offices on Ingram Street will remain closed for another 14 weeks after flooding last month. (File photo)
CVRD headquarters closed for another three and a half months

Building significantly damaged during water leak

Victoria police are asking for help locating high-risk missing man Derek Whittaker, last seen in Victoria April 12. (Courtesy of VicPD)
MISSING: Police searching for Derek Whittaker, last seen in Victoria

Whittaker believed to be driving 1994 red Volkswagen Golf

The IIO is investigating after a police dog bit a man during a traffic stop near Ladysmith on April 17, 2021. (Black Press Media stock photo)
IIO investigating after police dog bites man near Ladysmith

RCMP dog bit man during traffic stop on Friday, April 17

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

(Photo by Mojpe/Pixabay)
Canadian kids extracting record amounts from Tooth Fairy

Our neighbours in the U.S. receive slightly less from Tooth Fairy visits

Families of two of three workers killed in a train derailment near Field, B.C., in 2019 have filed lawsuits accusing Canadian Pacific of gross negligence. The derailment sent 99 grain cars and two locomotives off the tracks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Families of workers killed in Field train derailment allege negligence in lawsuit

Lawsuits allege the workers weren’t provided a safe work environment

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

Wickaninnish (Clifford Atleo) plays the drum while singing the Nuu-chah-nulth song on the court steps in Vancouver In a picture from April 2018. Photo credit, Melody Charlie.
Five western Vancouver Island First Nations celebrate legal fishing victory

Court ruling confirms Nuu-chah-nulth fishing rights in case dating back to 2003

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Most Read