Thomas Lee Dillon (July 9, 1950 – October 21, 2011) was an unhappily married father of one and a draftsman for a municipal water department known as a loner. He and his family lived a quiet life in a middle-class ranch house in southern Stark County’s Pike Township. He was also an American serial killer who shot and killed five men in southeastern Ohio like he was hunting, beginning April 1, 1989 and continuing until April 1992. One of the men he shot and killed was on federal property. He literally drove around country back roads shooting random people minding their own business for no apparent reason. Dillon was also known to have a temper and a neighbor even accused him of killing their dog.
Dillon only had 2 previous encounters with the law. in 1969 he was investigated for owning a military weapon. Then in 1991 he was fined $200 for illegal target practice. Dillion also bought numerous weapons from a co worker who had a federal firearms license.
In 1992 an old friend who met up with Dillon figured he might be the one committing all the murders and reported him to police. Thomas Dillon was arrested on a weapons charge on November 27, 1992, and he was placed under probation. They tracked where he was going even going as far as having air surveillance on him at times. One officer trailing him witnessed him shoot signs, shoot and kill cows, and even seen him stop pick up a large rock and throw it through the windshield of a car on the side of the road with a for sale sign on it. Officials believe Dillon killed numerous cattle in east-central Ohio
They arrested him leaving a convenience store. They were not sure if they had enough to make a conviction stick. But after searching his residents ballistic tests matched bullets to guns that he owned.
After the death penalty was removed as an option for punishment, Dillon admitted to the killings. Dillon pleaded guilty to the five murders. Dillon was incarcerated at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility for five consecutive sentences of thirty years until he died of cancer.
In July 1993, Dillon admitted to setting 160 fires and committing other acts of vandalism in Eastern Ohio during the preceding five years. Noble County Sheriff Landon Smith estimated that Dillon’s fires caused more than $2 million in damages.
A Letter apparently wrote to the paper by Dillon after a victims mother wrote a letter to the paper missing her son.
“I am the murderer of Jamie Paxton. Jamie Paxton was a complete stranger to me. I never saw him before in my life, and he never said a word to me that Saturday.
“Paxton was killed because of an irresistible compulsion that has taken over my life. I knew when I left my house that day that someone would die by my hand. I just didn’t know who or where. Technically I meet the definition of a serial killer, but I’m an average-looking person with a family, job and home just like yourself.
“Something in my head causes me to turn into a merciless killer with no conscience. To the Paxtons, you deserve to know the details.
“I was very drunk and a voice inside my head said, ‘do it.’ I stopped my car behind Jamie’s and got out. Jamie started walking very slowly down the hill toward the road. He appeared to be looking past me at something in the distance.
“I raised my rifle to my shoulder and lined him up in the sights. It took at least five seconds to take careful aim. My first shot was off a little bit and hit him in the right chest. He groaned and went down. I wanted to make sure he was finished so I fired a second shot aimed half way between his hip and shoulder. He was crawling around on the ground. I jerked the shot, and hit him in the knee. He raised his head and groaned again. My third shot also missed and hit him in the butt. He never moved again.
“Five minutes after I shot Paxton, I was drinking a beer and had blocked out all thoughts of what I had just done out of my mind. I thought no more of shooting Paxton than shooting a bottle at the dump.
“I know you hate my guts, and rightfully so. I think about Jamie every hour of the day, as I am sure you do.
“Don’t feel bad about not solving this case. You could interview till doomsday everyone that Jamie Paxton ever met in his life and you wouldn’t have a clue to my identity. With no motive, no weapon, and no witnesses you could not possibly solve this crime.”The letter was signed, “The murderer of Jamie Paxton.”