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

An Interior Health nurse administers Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
105 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

Just over 8,000 new vaccine doses administered in the region for a total of 158,000 to date

Last year’s flood season stretched from April through early July, as this picture of flooding at Cache Creek park on July 4, 2020 shows. With area snowpacks at slightly above normal, temperatures and rainfall will play a role in determining what this year’s flood season looks like. (Photo credit: Tom Moe)
Snowpacks in area slightly higher than normal as freshet starts

Temperatures and rainfall are critical flood risk factors in coming weeks

The Clinton Annual Ball went ahead in 2020, albeit in a different format and with far fewer guests than usual. (Photo credit: Clinton Annual Ball committee)
Clinton Annual Ball postponed again in 2021, but still carries on

Thanks to some creativity, ball is still the longest continually-held event of its kind in Canada

The 2020 financial statements for Cache Creek show that the village needs to look at either increasing revenues or cutting services in order to maintain a balanced budget. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Cache Creek council advised to increase revenues or cut services

Presentation also shows that continued use of Landfill Legacy Fund for operations is unsustainable

A group of outdoor enthusiasts and heritage buffs learning more about the history of the iconic 1926 Alexandra Bridge during a pre-COVID-19 tour. (Photo credit: Hope Mountain Centre for Outdoor Learning)
A group of outdoor enthusiasts and heritage buffs learning more about the history of the iconic 1926 Alexandra Bridge during a pre-COVID-19 tour. (Photo credit: Hope Mountain Centre for Outdoor Learning)
Major grant will help refurbish historic Alexandra Bridge near Spuzzum

The 1926 bridge, which last saw vehicle traffic in 1964, is major attraction on Fraser Canyon drive

Rendering of the community and cultural centre planned to be built on the site of the former residential school building in Lower Post. (Screenshot/Province of BC YouTube channel)
Lower Post residential school building to be demolished, replaced with cultural centre

Project to be funded by federal and provincial governments, Daylu Dena Council

Vancouver police say eight people were arrested Wednesday after anti-pipeline protesters blocked off both the entrances and exits to two buildings in the downtown core. (Instagram/Qtcatspictureclub)
8 people arrested after anti-pipeline protestors chain themselves to Vancouver buildings

Cst. Tania Visintin said demonstrators caused ‘a serious safety hazard’ downtown for hours Wednesday

Jamie Coutts recorded a man following her around downtown Vancouver for a half-hour on Wednesday, March 18. (Instagram screenshot/Iammjammbamm)
Man charged in alleged high-profile Vancouver stalking case that went viral online

Man faces five other charges including criminal harassment and assault with a weapon

A sea lion swims past the window of an empty viewing area Vancouver Aquarium is pictured Thursday, September 10, 2020. The Vancouver Aquarium has had to close its doors to the public due to the lack of visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
U.S.-based theme park company buys Vancouver Aquarium

Aquarium had to shut its doors in September due to COVID pandemic

A man wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as he walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
COVID-19 spike in B.C. could overwhelm B.C. hospitals: modelling group

There are 397 people are in hospital due to the virus, surpassing a previous high of 374 seen in December

A deep cut on a humpback whale is shown in this recent handout photo in the Vancouver area. A conservation organization is warning boaters to be extra careful to prevent further harm to an injured humpback whale swimming in the Vancouver area. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Ocean Wise, Vanessa Prigollini *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Boaters urged to use caution around hurt humpback off Vancouver

Ocean Wise says watchers first noticed the wound 3 days ago and believe it was caused by a vessel strike

Ron Rauch and his wife Audrey are photographed at their home in Victoria, Friday, March 5, 2021. Their daughter Lisa Rauch died on Christmas Day 2019 when a tactical officer with the Victoria Police Department shot her in the back of the head with plastic bullets after barricading herself in a room that was on fire. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. families push for changes as special committee examines provincial Police Act

Solicitor General Mike Farnworth acknowledged the need to update the legislation last year

Most Read