Sniper Thomas Lee Dillon’s Murderous Pastime

A search of Dillon’s residence showed that he had kept newspaper clippings about some of the murders.

Dillon soon admitted to all five murders. His defense attorneys asked psychologist Jeffrey Smalldon to examine Dillon to determine if an insanity defense might be viable. Smalldon recalled that Dillon was “very smart, an IQ of around 135, in the superior range of intelligence.” Dillon related how he often spent weekends driving around rural Ohio looking for someone isolated, whether jogger, fisherman, or hunter, to shoot to death with a rifle.

However, that voice was not the alien voice that a schizophrenic might “hear” but the voice of Dillon’s own thoughts since when Smalldon asked if the voice was that of someone else, Dillon freely admitted, “I know it was me. It was my own voice. It was a voice in my head.” In addition to the five murders, Dillon had set more than 100 fires in country areas and killed more than a thousand pets and farm animals. Smalldon told the defense attorneys that Dillon was not insane and a mental defense would not work. After receiving the agreement of the victims’ families, Miller offered a deal by which Dillon would confess and accept life imprisonment so prosecutors would not pursue a death sentence against him. Dillon accepted the deal and make videotaped confessions of his crimes.

In a blasé manner, he described the shooting of Kevin Loring.

Investigator: “How far away was he from you when you shot him?”
Dillon: “Seventy-five feet maybe.”
Investigator: “Where did you shoot him at?”
Dillon: “Right between the eyes.”
Investigator: “Is that where you aimed for?”
Dillon: “Yes.”
Investigator: “Did you walk up to him and look at him?”
Dillon: “No, didn’t come close.”
Investigator: “But you’re sure he was dead?”
Dillon: “Yeah, yeah. His hat blew straight up about 20 feet.”

When Dillon was asked why he murdered Loring, Dillon replied, “I don’t know, just something came to me.”

Although all victims were strangers to Dillon, he became oddly interested in them after their deaths. He visited the graves of the men he murdered. He even went to the trouble of visiting Loring’s hometown of Duxbury, Massachusetts to find out more about him. Dillon told police, “I went to New England last year with my wife and I looked up on the microfilm on the Plymouth Library where that guy lived and everything. He was from [the] Duxbury area. I just read you know, see what, who the hell he was. I didn’t know who he was.”

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