Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Addicted to Murder: The True Story of Daniel Conahan Jr.

The Big Link

On June 7, 1996, investigators received information about a report, which had been filed at the Fort Myers Police Department on August 15, 1994, by 26-year-old Stanley Burden. In this report, Mr. Burden stated he had been taken to a wooded area off Rockfill Road, in Fort Myers, where a white male then assaulted him. He identified the perpetrator as "Dan," who drove a 1981 to 1985 gray Plymouth station wagon.

Conahan's Car, impounded by police
Conahan's Car, impounded by police
In the report, Burden said the perpetrator tied him to a tree, sexually assaulted him and tried to strangle him with a rope. Task force members were quickly located and Burden told them he was offered $120 for nude photos in the woods. Investigators noticed he still had scars around his wrist and neck from the 1994 incident. During a lineup of six photographs, Burden identified Daniel Conahan Jr. as the man who assaulted him. Lee Memorial Hospital records later strengthened Burden's story.

Daniel Conahan's fingerprints
Daniel Conahan's fingerprints
In checking Conahan's background, detectives found that he had been discharged from the Navy in 1978, under threat of a court-martial for several counts of sodomy and physical assault. According to Naval records, the offenses were part of a "continuing plan or scheme by Conahan, to lure service men just beyond the limits of the Naval Training Center, in Great Lakes, Ill."

As the investigation into Conahan intensified, his credit card records were subpoenaed. Purchase receipts showed that Conahan used his card to buy knives, alcohol, leather gloves, rope, plastic tarps, and several dozen roles of Polaroid film.

In July, investigators issued a search warrant at Conahan's home and seized anything they deemed suspicious. Days later, they assembled enough evidence to serve an arrest warrant. Fibers from a rope seized during the search of Conahan's property matched fibers on the rope used in the attempted strangulation of Stanley Burden. In addition, a paint chip, which was found in Montgomery's pubic hair, matched a paint chip taken from Conahan's father's car. Fibers found on at least one tree were also matched to a pair of Conahan's gloves.

Daniel Conahan's booking sheet
Daniel Conahan's booking sheet
On July 3, 1996, Daniel Conahan Jr. was arrested on one count of attempted first-degree murder, two counts of sexual battery and one count of kidnapping, in connection with Stanley Burden. Conahan was then held without bond in the Lee County Jail.

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