Man arrested in New Jersey homicide charged in New Mexico deaths


ALBUQUERQUE, NM (AP) – Authorities Friday charged a man already charged with a beating death in New Jersey with murder and other charges in New Mexico for the murder of his ex-wife and two of his friends who were lured into the death for a period of weeks before they were dismembered and their remains stuffed in plastic containers.

An arrest warrant affidavit for Sean Lannon, 47, details the gruesome weeks that followed the January shooting death of his ex-wife Jennifer Lannon, 39, in the home the couple shared with their three children. in the town of Grants, about 80 miles (130 kilometers) west of Albuquerque.

Lannon told investigators during an interview after his arrest in the New Jersey case that he found Jennifer and Jesten Mata, 40, together in their home. He claimed that the two were having an affair and had given the children drugs to make them fall asleep. He said that after Mata left, Jennifer started freaking out because she thought the children were dead.

According to the affidavit, Lannon claimed Jennifer tried a heroin overdose and said she couldn’t live without the children. She still had a pulse, so she said he shot her in the head. He told authorities that he planned to commit suicide, but then he heard one of the children scream and lower the gun.

Lannon told investigators that he put Jennifer’s body and bedding in a container and placed it in the backyard.

It would be a week before he could lure Mata back to the house and kill him, he told investigators. According to authorities, Lannon claimed that Mata had shown him a sexually explicit photo. It was another week before 21-year-old Matthew Miller arrived and was also shot in the back of the neck. Lannon had also accused Miller of selling drugs to his ex-wife and Mata.

Court records alleged that Lannon tried to cover up the killings by telling police and others that the three friends had run away with a bag full of drugs. The affidavit says Lannon used several plastic containers to hide the bodies and other items, and that his friends unknowingly helped him move the containers along with his other belongings to Albuquerque in mid-February.

Lannon told police that he used hand saws and knives to dismember Miller and Mata and put them in the containers. Court records also say carpets and floors were removed from the Lannon home in Grants.

The remains of Jennifer Lannon, Mata and Miller they were found in early March inside a pickup truck in a parking lot at the Albuquerque airport. The body of the truck’s owner, Randal Apostalon, was also discovered.

Lannon told investigators he killed the 60-year-old Albuquerque man on February 24 after he asked for more money to help move the containers elsewhere. Apostalon was known for offering trips for money and often took odd jobs.

Authorities have also been investigating Sean Lannon’s claims that he killed 11 other people in New Mexico, but police have said there are no records of missing persons in the area or other police reports indicating there are potential victims.

Authorities said in court documents that Lannon acknowledged the additional killings in a phone call to a family member.

Lannon remains in custody in New Jersey on charges stemming from the death of Michael Dabkowski there. New Mexico authorities have not yet produced extradition documents and an attorney has yet to be appointed.

Lannon is charged with breaking into the 66-year-old New Jersey home south of Philadelphia and beating him to death with a hammer, according to an affidavit. Lannon told investigators that Dabkowski had sexually abused him as a child and that he had gone to the home to retrieve sexually explicit photos.

Prosecutors are investigating the sexual abuse allegation and more.

“There are many aspects of the investigation that we are still pursuing,” said Thomas Gilbert, chief of detectives for the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office. “We are conducting a full and thorough investigation and everything related to it.”

Dabkowski’s body was discovered on March 8, three days after the remains were found in New Mexico. Lannon was driving Dabkowski’s car when he was arrested March 10 in St. Louis, according to authorities, who are not sure why he was in Missouri.

Assistant Deputy Public Defender Ronald Appleby declined to comment on the New Jersey charges. A court hearing in that case is scheduled for April 8.

Sean and Jennifer Lannon lived in New Jersey before moving to New Mexico a few years ago, before he filed for divorce.

Court records related to the couple’s divorce and custody case showed that Sean Lannon was awarded sole custody of the couple’s three children in 2019 and that a protection plan from the Department of Children, Youth and Families again Mexico included only visits supervised by his mother for concerns about the potential for neglect due to prescription drug abuse.

Family members say Sean Lannon flew to New Jersey in early March with the couple’s three children: 6 and 7-year-old girls and a 4-year-old boy. He left them with relatives, claiming that he would return to look for his ex-wife. Her family was already worried, saying that it was not like her to be without her children.

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