Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Sniper Thomas Lee Dillon: The Hunter Hunter

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.

Fry thought of his friend, Thomas Lee Dillon. In many ways, Dillon was unremarkable. College educated, Dillon was married and raising a son. He had worked for twenty-two years as a draftsman at the Canton Water Department. He was liked by everyone who knew him. 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?”

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