CALDWELL Thomas Lee Dillon, convicted in Noble County in 1993 for the murder of five outdoorsmen, died in a prison medical facility Friday (Oct. 21) morning.
Joellen Smith, of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, said Dillon, 61, died at 7:55 a.m. of natural causes at the Franklin Medical Center in Columbus following an unspecified near-three-week illness.
Dillon stalked the woods of southeastern Ohio and killed five men, shooting from long-range with a rifle, between April 1989 and his capture on Nov. 27, 1992.
He pleaded guilty and was convicted on five counts of aggravated murder and was serving five consecutive life terms, with no possibility of parole for 165 years.
He was admitted July 19, 1993 to the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville.
His serial killing spree was the focus of an episode of The Discovery Channel series The FBI Files. Human Prey aired Nov. 10, 1998. It was the third episode of the first season.
Until he was hospitalized on Oct. 4, Dillion had been housed at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility at Lucasville, where he was admitted July 19, 1993. He was a prison trash-crew worker.
Dillon, from Magnolia in Stark County, drove the rural back roads with a high-powered rifle in his search for victims and also claimed to have set 160 arson fires during his journeys.
The murders were solved when a friend of Dillons contacted police with suspicions about the Canton Water Department draftsman and a gun dealer turned over a rifle, which was used in the slayings, that Dillon had sold him.
His victims included:
Donald Welling, 35, of Strasburg, who was shot April 1, 1989, while walking or jogging on Route 94 in Tuscarawas County.
Jamie Paxton, 21, of Bannock, was shot both from long- and close-range while bow hunting on Nov. 10, 1990 near Route 64 in Belmont County.
Kevin Loring, 30, of Duxbury, Mass., was killed Nov. 28, 1990, while deer hunting in a rural reclaimed strip mine area near Route 98 in Muskingum County.
Claude Hawkins, 48, of Mansfield, was fatally shot March 14, 1992, while fishing near Wills Creek Dam off Route 274 in Coshocton County
Gary Bradley, 44, of Williamstown, W.Va, died April 5, 1992, while he was fishing in a rural recreation area off Route 83 near Caldwell in Noble County.