US man accused of one murder says he really killed 16 prosecutor

A man charged with beating to death a New Jersey resident he says sexually abused him as a child now claims he has killed a total of 16 people, including his ex-wife and three others in New Mexico, officials said. Authorities have not corroborated that claim.
Sean Lannon, 47, said he killed the four whose remains were found in a vehicle at an airport and 11 other individuals in New Mexico, Alec Gutierrez, an assistant prosecutor in Gloucester County, New Jersey, said during a detention hearing on Friday (local time), reported.

Authorities said in court documents that Lannon made the admission in a phone call to a relative, who told investigators he expressed remorse. Lannon had been sought after the discovery of the four bodies but has been charged only with the death in New Jersey. His lawyer says Lannon was provoked.

Police Lieutenant David Chavez in Lannons hometown of Grants, New Mexico, said authorities have no indication that his claims about 11 other killings are true and that they arent aware of any missing-person or homicide reports that would fit his narrative.

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Is it possible? Sure, its possible. Is it probable? No, probably not, Chavez told the Albuquerque Journal, saying authorities would investigate.

It was a twist in a case that spans the country. A search for Lannon ended with his arrest in St Louis on March 10. He was driving a car stolen from New Jersey victim Michael Dabkowski, who mentored Lannon and his twin brother through a Big Brothers program in the 1980s, reported.

Lannon told investigators that Dabkowski had sexually abused him as a child and that he had gone to the 66-year-olds home to retrieve sexually explicit photos.

He is accused of breaking into Dabkowskis home and beating him to death with a hammer, according to an affidavit. Dabkowski's body was found March 8.

Suspect Sean Lannon in an undated photo released by the Gloucester County Prosecutors Office.

The bodies of Lannon's ex-wife and three other people had been found in a vehicle on March 5 in a parking garage at Albuquerque International Sunport, New Mexicos largest airport.

The victims were identified as Jennifer Lannon, 39; Matthew Miller, 21; Jesten Mata, 40; and Randal Apostalon, 60. Sean Lannon lived 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 Apostalons car.

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

Jennifer Lannons brother, Chris Whitman, told Albuquerque TV station KOB that he was shocked to hear his former brother-in-law claimed responsibility for multiple killings.

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

Matthew Reisen/AP
Police investigate a pickup truck where four bodies were found on March 5.

In court in New Jersey on Friday, public defender Frank Unger challenged probable cause for the murder charge, arguing that Dabkowski had allowed Lannon into his home and that what followed amounted, at worst, to manslaughter provoked by passion, reported.

He argued that Lannon didnt want anyone to have control over me any longer in trying to take back photos tied to childhood sexual abuse. 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 Dabkowskis garage and gave them to the victim, saying, Youre going to need these. I dont 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 then was killed.

Unger wanted the judge to release Lannon before trial, saying he 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 suburban Philadelphia's Gloucester County before he was deployed to Germany, Unger said. He has family in southern New Jersey, including his mother and sister.

The prosecutor argued that Lannon had previously spent a week in jail in New Mexico for failing to appear in court. It wasnt clear what he had been cited with.

The judge ordered that Lannon remain behind bars.


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