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

School District 51 reported a potential COVID-19 exposure at Grand Forks Secondary School on Thursday, April 22. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
School board reports possible COVID exposure at Grand Forks high school

School District 51 said a member of the school community had tested positive for the novel coronavirus

Kimberley case counts not at the point for 18 years and older community vaccination, says Interior Health. (File photo)
Many factors considered for smaller community-wide vaccination: Interior Health

East Kootenay resort town’s COVID-19 situation not at the point of community-wide vaccination, say officials

Nav Canada will not be closing the tower at West Kootenay Regional Airport. Photo: Betsy Kline
Nav Canada tower to remain open at West Kootenay Regional Airport

The organization was considering closing the tower

Fruits and veggies made a big splash at the last Grand Forks and District Fall Fair, held at Dick Bartlett Park and the nearby curling rink in September 2019. Fair president Danna O’Donnell said there would not be a return to in-person events this fall, citing COVID and financial constraints. Photo: Jensen Edwards
Grand Forks fall fair cancels in-person events for 2021

The fair’s board of directors is meanwhile considering relocating the fairgrounds

File photo.
Let’s cut the ‘and’ in ‘Mental Health and Addictions’

We need to acknowledge that addiction is a mental health issue

Four homes in Johnson Flats were at serious risk of falling into a neighbourhood section of the Kettle River, according to capital project manager Justin Dinsdale. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks shields riverside homes against erosion

Crews have built a modified dike along a section of the Kettle River in Johnson Flats

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Nanaimo RCMP say a man was injured while pouring gunpowder on a backyard fire in Harewood on Wednesday, April 21. (File photo)
Nanaimo man hospitalized after pouring gunpowder onto backyard fire

RCMP investigating explosion in Harewood also came across a still for making alcohol on property

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. sees 1,006 COVID-19 cases Thursday, ‘alarming’ 502 in hospital

Vaccine bookings for people aged 60 and older set to start

Most Read