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

Members of the community garden hosted their first seed swap and fundraiser at the Greenwood Mall in Sparwood on Monday. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Sparwood Community Garden hosts first seed swap

Work on the garden at Engelmann Spruce Drive will begin soon

Crews and volunteers responded to a four-hectare wildfire on the lower half of the Aqam community lands near Cranbrook on Friday afternoon. Trevor Crawley photo.
Wildfire season gets early start in the East Kootenay

Fire crews, volunteers respond to two local wildfires, while prescribed burns turn weekend skies smoky

A conceptual image of a multi-family housing development envisioned by Abugov Kaspar Architects to go on a lot in Castle Mountain in Fernie. (Image courtesy of City of Fernie)
City defers zoning decision

A zoning change would permit a development with 15 percent rental tenure residences in Castle Mountain

Rob and Jennifer King run Sasquatch Cyclery out of their garage. (Soranne Floarea/ The Free Press)
‘Hop on it now’: Parts crunch hits cycling

New bikes are hard to get and used bikes are selling at a premium this year

Michel-Natal-Sparwood Heritage Society runs a museum that was established to display the heritage of the "no-longer towns" of Michel and Natal, and the Elk Valley Area. Photo Submitted/Monica Beranek, Artifact Curator
Sparwood Museum requests a leg up to stay open full-time

The museum is volunteer-run, but needs a full-time employee to be able to snag much-needed grants

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
BREAKING: Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Chakalaka Bar & Grill remains open in defiance of orders from Island Health to close. (Cole Schisler photo)
B.C. health authority seeks injunction against restaurant defying COVID-19 orders

Chakalaka Bar and Grill plans to continue serving customers without public health compliance

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. to target people ages 40+ in ‘high risk communities’ with AstraZeneca vaccine

A total of 13 neighbourhoods and communities will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine

Carver Ken Sheen had almost finished work on a large cowboy carving commissioned by the City of Williams Lake to replace the original overlooking the Stampede Grounds when fire broke out Friday, April 18 at his property between Williams Lake and Quesnel. (Pine River Carving Facebook photos)
Cow boss statue destined for Williams Lake Stampede Grounds goes up in flames

Carver Ken Sheen lost the statue, all his tools and his shop in the blaze

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains. (Hansard TV)
B.C. moves to protect employee pay for COVID-19 vaccination

Most won’t need to take time off work, labour minister says

Most Read