Sniper Thomas Lee Dillon’s Murderous Pastime

In 1992, Richard Fry of Canton, Ohio read about the seemingly random murders of five men, most of them outdoorsmen, in eastern Ohio during the four year period from 1989 to 1992.

A sniper had murdered the following:

Donald Welling, 35, while walking or jogging on Tuscarawas County Road 94, on April 1, 1989.

Jamie Paxton, 21, while deer hunting in Belmont County, on November 10, 1990.

Kevin Loring, 30, while deer hunting in Muskingum County, on November 28, 1990.

Claude Hawkins, 48, while fishing at Wills Creek in Coshoction County, on March 14, 1992.

Gary Bradley, 44, while fishing near Caldwell in Noble County, on April 5, 1992.

However, Fry knew that on weekends Dillon enjoyed driving around the areas in which the aforementioned men had been killed. Fry also knew that Dillon possessed weapons capable of shooting accurately from a long range. Finally, Fry remembered a disturbing conversation with his friend when the two of them had attended a gun show. Dillon had an odd look on his face as he twice repeated this question to Fry: “Do you think I’ve ever killed anyone?”

Fry contacted the office of Tuscarawas County Sheriff Walt Wilson and was soon talking about his friend Dillon with the Sheriff and other investigators. According to Michael Miller, who prosecuted the case against Dillon, Fry had the eerie sense that “Dillon was the type of person who could do something like this.”

With no hard evidence, members of a task force formed to look into these sniper slayings began following Dillon. They arrested him on a weapons charge and his photograph appeared in the newspaper. A gun dealer saw the picture and recalled a gun called a Mauser that Dillon had sold to him. According to an article by David Kohn, Miller related that the gun dealer “still had the Mauser and he called the task force. That Mauser was ultimately taken to the FBI lab and it was confirmed that it was used in one of the homicides.” That homicide was the murder of Gary Bradley.

Prev1 of 4

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *