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Adam Leroy LANE






A.K.A.: "The Highway Killer"
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Trucker
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: July 13/29, 2007
Date of arrest: July 30, 2007
Date of birth: August 7, 1964
Victims profile: Darlene Ewalt, 42 / Monica Massaro, 38
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife
Location: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania/Bloomsbury, New Jersey, USA
Status: Sentenced to 50 years in New Jersey. Sentenced to 48 years to life in prison in Pennsylvania on June 28, 2010

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Adam Leroy Lane is a convicted serial killer who is dubbed the "Highway Killer" because his crimes took place near the highway, which he frequently traveled because of his job as a trucker.


Lane committed the murders while he made his way through the northeast during the summer of 2007. He had a book (DVD) in his truck on stalking and killing humans entitled "Hunting Humans." He also carried two knives and choke wire.

His first known victim was Darlene Ewalt, who lived near Harrisburg. She was stabbed and killed on 13 July 2007. At the time, she was talking on the telephone in the backyard. Lane stabbed her to death while her family was inside the house.

Lane's second victim was a woman named Patricia Brooks, whom he stabbed on 17 July 2007 in York County, Pennsylvania. She survived.

His third victim was a woman in New Jersey by the name of Monica Massaro. He stabbed and killed her a day before he committed his final crime.

His final crime transpired when he made a stop on I-495 in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, broke into a house on 30 July 2007, and attacked a 16-year-old girl with a knife. Her parents awoke to the sounds of her struggling. Her 135-pound mother and 160-pound father were able to subdue the 245-pound Lane and wrestle the knife he was carrying away from him, even though the mother suffered knife cuts. Chelmsford Police were contacted, arrived at the scene, and arrested him.


Lane was linked to Ewalt by DNA on his knife. He was linked to Brooks similarly. He also dropped some gloves with his DNA and one of his victim's blood.

Trials and imprisonment

Lane received a 25-30 year sentence in Massachusetts for the attack on the teenage girl.

New Jersey sentenced him to 50 years for the murder of Monica Massaro.

In Pennsylvania Lane made a deal to plead guilty in order to avoid the death penalty. He was sentenced to 10-20 years for the attempted murder of the woman in York County, and 48-life for the murder of Darlene Ewalt.

In the media

The story has been presented in the Dateline NBC series (original air date 3 August 2009) and 48 Hours Mystery episode, Live to Tell: Hunting Humans (original air date 26 February 2011).


Family's capture of serial killer Adam Leroy Lane chronicled in book

By John Luciew -

March 1, 2011

They were hailed as heroes, a regular family that had captured a serial killer.

But if they were heroes, why did they feel so vulnerable, angry and guilty?

These are the demons Jeannie McDonough wrestles with in her new true crime account, “Caught in the Act.”

The book, out today, March 1, chronicles the McDonough family’s brush with truck driver-serial killer Adam Leroy Lane, whose trail of death includes the 2007 murder of Darlene Ewalt in West Hanover Twp.

The first time Jeannie McDonough and her husband, Kevin, laid eyes on the burly Lane, he was holding a hunting knife to their daughter’s throat inside the girl’s bedroom.

It was 4 a.m. July 30, 2007, in Chelmsford, Mass. The McDonoughs were roused from sleep by the mysterious sounds of muffled moans coming from their 15-year-old daughter’s room.

Still, the image of a black-clad Lane crouched over their daughter Shea’s bed was so shocking, at first Jeannie thought it must be some kind of joke. Surely, their older son, or perhaps, Shea’s boyfriend was playing a prank.

Then Kevin McDonough saw the glint of the 15-inch hunting knife and swung into action.

He tackled the much-bigger Lane and managed to roll him off of Shea.

Jeannie grabbed for the knife, even wrapping her hands around the blade. She says she didn’t even feel the razor edge slice into her hands during the last throes of the couple’s violent struggle to subdue Lane.

“We did what any other parent would have done in the same situation —protect your child and go into survival mode,” says Jeannie, minimizing any talk of heroism. “We’re just survivors.”

And when it was over, the fortunate family breathed a huge sigh of relief.

But their elation wouldn’t last.

Three weeks later, the McDonoughs would learn that a mere 22 hours before Lane crept into their daughter’s bedroom, he had killed Monica Massaro in New Jersey.

It was the same MO — an unlocked door, a sleeping female victim, an intruder with a knife.

Soon, police would connect Lane to two other crimes, both in Pennsylvania.

One was the July 13 murder of Darlene Ewalt as she sat on her West Hanover Twp. patio in the wee hours. The second was the July 17 near-fatal knife attack on Patricia Brooks, as she dozed on her couch inside her York County home.

In light of these sobering facts, the McDonoughs’ feeling of good fortune and relief at having thwarted Lane suddenly turned to guilt, especially for Jeannie, age 50.

She just couldn’t stop thinking about the two women who had lost their lives and the third who was badly injured and partially disfigured.

“When your relief comes at the expense of someone else, it’s awful,” she says. “It really broke my heart. And it really, really angered me.”

Jeannie’s flood of emotions began the very night after learning of Monica Massaro’s murder. She couldn’t sleep, so she started writing.

At first, it was a personal journal to make sense of her tangle of emotions. Then, as she kept at it, Jeannie thought perhaps her scribbling would become a family record. Something to show the grandchildren, along with the numerous newspaper articles that Kevin, 52, was constantly clipping.

But as she learned more about the other victims, attended various court proceedings in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and began corresponding with family and friends of the two murdered women, Jeannie’s writing became something more.

Soon family members and friends were telling her that she might have a book. Perhaps she should try to get it published.

That’s when she met true crime writer and mystery novelist Paul Lonardo. The publishing veteran knew the serial killer genre had been done to death, but he had never seen this before.

“A multiple serial killer captured by a regular family? I couldn’t find anything remotely similar,” the world-weary crime scribe says.

In Jeannie’s raw, emotional pages, he didn’t find your typical crime book, either.

Her connection with Lane’s other victims and her communion with their families was almost spiritual. It was a uniquely personal quest for peace amid the bloodiest, most life-shattering violence imaginable.

As a collaborator, Lonardo realized he had something original. He just needed to add details of the crimes, and the book would be complete.

“Its not written to be exploitative in any way,” he assures. “It’s her emotional journey.”

At one time, Jeannie believed the book’s journey would allow her and her family to finally close this chapter of their lives.

But as she conducts interview after interview to promote the paperback and appears on the likes of “48 Hours,” she realizes there’s no escaping Lane, nor forgetting Monica and Darlene.

The family still struggles with lingering feelings of vulnerability, combined with a parent’s impulse to be over-protective.

For a long while, Kevin obsessed over Shea’s safety. So much so, he was driving his daughter crazy.

At 19, Shea has moved out of the family home and is sharing a nearby place with some friends. She works as a nanny. The one-time child victim has become a caregiver and protector of three young children in her own right.

Inside the McDonough home, there’s a new nightly ritual. The family that was once so casual and unconcerned over the occasional unlocked door now obsessively sets the home security system, which was installed after Lane’s home invasion.

Jeannie double-checks the dead bolts each evening, while Kevin keeps a wary eye on just about everyone.

“You’re waiting for the other shoe to drop,” Jeannie explains. “You really start to worry about the other possibilities that are out there.”

Still, each and every night, she manages to make peace with it all. In doing so, Jeannie says she gets a little help from Darlene and Monica.

“I can’t help but revisit it, but it’s not in an unhealthy way,” she says. “Each night I am essentially putting it to bed. I say my prayers, and I thank those women for being in that bedroom with us that night. I really do believe they were with us, and they helped us.”


Life sentence for trucker in women's deaths in Pa.

June 29, 2010

HARRISBURG - A former trucker facing decades in prison for knife attacks on women in New Jersey and Massachusetts was sentenced Monday to life behind bars for similar attacks in Pennsylvania.

Under a deal that spared him the death penalty, Adam Leroy Lane pleaded guilty to murder and other charges for the July 13, 2007, stabbing of Darlene Ewalt outside her Harrisburg-area home and attempted murder for slashing a woman while she slept in her home north of York.

Dauphin County Court Judge Todd Hoover sentenced Lane, 45, to life for Ewalt's death and a consecutive term of 10 to 20 years in the other case. The Pennsylvania attacks were the first of four Lane committed in July 2007. In all cases, prosecutors say, he picked victims at random and attacked them at their homes near interstate highways.

Lane had pleaded guilty in a New Jersey woman's killing and an attack on a Massachusetts girl. Lane was serving a 25- to 30-year prison term for the Massachusetts attack when he was sentenced to 50 years for the murder of 38-year-old Monica Massaro at her Bloomsbury, N.J., home.


Trucker sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty in knife attacks on 2 Pa. women

June 28, 2010

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A former trucker already facing decades in prison for random knife attacks on women in New Jersey and Massachusetts was sentenced Monday to spend the rest of his life behind bars for a pair of similar attacks in Pennsylvania.

Under a deal that spared him from Pennsylvania's death penalty, Adam Leroy Lane pleaded guilty to murder and other charges for the July 13, 2007, stabbing murder of Darlene Ewalt outside her Harrisburg-area home and attempted murder for the slashing of another women while she slept in her home north of York.

Dauphin County Judge Todd Hoover sentenced Lane, 45, to life imprisonment for Ewalt's death and a consecutive term of 10 to 20 years for the other case.

Hoover told Lane he "will be fed, clothed and housed by the Department of Corrections" for the rest of his life.

The Pennsylvania attacks were the first of four that Lane committed during a 17-day period in July 2007.

In all four cases, prosecutors say the former North Carolina man picked his victims at random and attacked them at their homes near interstate highways that he traveled.

"It's everybody's worst nightmare," said Fran Chardo, the Dauphin County first assistant district attorney.

Lane stabbed Ewalt, 42, while she talked on the phone to a friend outside her suburban Harrisburg home around 2 a.m. on July 13, 2007, while her husband and son slept inside.

Four days later, about 25 miles south of Ewalt's home, 37-year-old Patricia Brooks told police she was sleeping on a couch when she awoke at 2 a.m. to a black-clad man driving a knife blade into her shoulder. Lane slashed her neck and fled when Brooks screamed and sat up, police said.

Members of Ewalt's family addressed the judge prior to sentencing with a mixture of sadness and anger.

Todd Ewalt, whom state police initially questioned as a suspect in his wife's death, said it was the result of "an unnecessary, senseless act committed by a coward."

Lane, wearing handcuffs and orange-and-white prison garb, showed no emotion and waived his right to speak.

"I haven't got anything to say," he said.

Ewalt's 25-year-old son, Nick, asked the judge to review the investigation and to sentence his mother's killer to death.

"I just want him dead," he told reporters on his way out of the courthouse.

District Attorney Edward Marsico said one reason prosecutors agreed to the plea and did not seek the death penalty in Lane's case was that executions rarely occur in Pennsylvania.

Lane had previously pleaded guilty in the murder of a New Jersey woman and an attack on a 15-year-old Massachusetts girl that was interrupted by her father, who held Lane in a headlock until police arrived and arrested him on July 30.

Lane was serving a 25- to 30-year prison term for the Massachusetts attack when he was sentenced to a consecutive 50 years in prison for the murder of 38-year-old Monica Massaro at her Bloomsbury, N.J., home.

Marsico said Lane is expected to remain in Pennsylvania's prison system.

Police in Jonesville, N.C., Lane's hometown, have said they wanted to question him in the 1996 shooting death of an officer who was found next to his cruiser after pulling over a pickup truck that had been reported stolen. But police Chief Roger Reece said Monday he did not know how soon that may happen.

"There's nothing other than he resembles a composite drawing (of the suspect) in our case," he said.


Trucker tells how he killed woman in Bloomsbury

By Ralph R. Ortega and Rick Hepp - The Star-Ledger

Saturday October 04, 2008

More than an hour into an interview at a Massachusetts jail last year, detectives following up on a woman's murder in a small New Jersey borough finally put the question to trucker Adam Leroy Lane.

"Adam, tell us what happened on the night when you were in New Jersey and stopped at the rest stop off Route 78," asked State Police Detective Geoffrey Noble.

What followed was a blunt, terrifying confession by Lane, who took detectives down the path he walked on the night of July 29, 2007 -- from the rest stop into neighboring Bloomsbury, where Lane jiggled a number of doorknobs until he found one unlocked, entered it and murdered Monica Massaro in her bed.

The video-recorded confession, obtained exclusively by The Star-Ledger, shows how Lane, mindful that his answers could mean the difference between life in prison and death, claimed Massaro's knife wound occurred as an accident during a botched burglary.

The transcript appears at the end of this article.

It was Massaro, he said, who somehow turned into the knife, slicing her own throat, as the two wrestled on her bed. Lane said he panicked and tried to throw police off by mutilating her body to make it look like a sex crime.

"I didn't mean to hurt her," he told Noble and Lt. Jeffrey Farneski, of the Hunterdon County Prosecutor's Office. "My knives are scare tactics -- scare tactics if I got caught, or I'd run up on a big dog."

Fay Massaro scoffed at the suggestion that her daughter's death was an accident.

"He wasn't a robber. He was a killer," Massaro said in an interview last week.

The 44-year-old suspected serial killer from North Carolina finally admitted Monday that he left his truck intent on taking a life. He faces 50 years in prison as part of a deal in which he pleaded guilty to murder in Hunterdon County.

The sentence will be served after Lane completes a 25-year term in Massachusetts for sneaking into a home there and attacking a teenage girl at knife-point.

The video of Lane's August 2007 confession shows him bearded and gruff-looking, portraying himself as an ailing, down-on-his-luck truck driver, scraping to provide for a wife and two daughters. He said he was sidelined by a back injury that tapped his family's finances and that he was on medications for diabetes and hallucinations.

At the same time, he boasted to detectives that he could read and write, had respect for the law and was punctual about his work.

"I got manners," he said. "I treat people the way I want to be treated."

Detectives linked Lane to Massaro's murder after Hunterdon County Prosecutor J. Patrick Barnes learned the circumstances surrounding Lane's arrest in suburban Boston for attacking a 15-year-old girl were similar to the Massaro attack.

Like the teenager, Massaro lived near an interstate -- about a mile away from the truck stop in Bloomsbury. Lane also was dressed in dark clothes, was armed with a knife and came at the girl while she was in bed. Her father stopped Lane before she was harmed, however, and held him until police arrived.

Barnes sent detectives north to question Lane about Massaro, 38, who ran a home-cleaning business. The confession video shows they took their time, asking Lane about his life and his time in New Jersey that weekend, but never about Massaro -- or a murder.

After nearly 75 minutes of questioning, Lane stopped them. "I want you to get down to what you're asking me, all right?"

Noble asked whether Lane assaulted somebody that night.

He flatly denied it.

"See, the thing about this is, just like I told my wife, they're gonna hit me with everything they can find, that they can't solve."

Lane ended the interview, but within an hour invited the detectives back.

"What I'm about to do is stupid," Lane began.

He then admitted that he parked at the truck stop and went into town, dressed in black and armed with a knife, on the prowl for unlocked homes.

"I was looking for money," Lane said. "I was losing everything I had. I don't have much, didn't have much, and now I've lost everything, including my family."

After crossing through several backyards, Lane said, he stumbled upon Massaro's home, which was "wide open." He rummaged through some rooms and her car before startling Massaro in bed, he said. She screamed.

"I tried to put my hand over her mouth to get her to be quiet ... She bit my hand," Lane said.

He did not remember how the knife came into play, but somehow, he said, Massaro rolled into it and slashed her throat.

"I thought maybe it was just a little scrape or something. God, there was so much blood," he said. "She bled to death. I couldn't do nothing about it."

Lane claimed he tried to cover up the murder by further cutting the victim to make it appear she was slain during a sex crime.

"I wanted to make it look like somebody, like some maniac, sex crime," he said. "I cut her in a couple places ... Between the legs, on her stomach."

He denied any sexual gratification from the killing, or committing any sex acts.

"I love my wife very much. I ain't out for sexual joys," Lane said.

The New Jersey State Police lab later recovered Massaro's DNA from the knife, as well as DNA from a murdered Pennsylvania woman, Darlene Ewalt.

Lane is accused of killing Ewalt after stalking her from behind on July 13, 2007, as she sat on the rear patio of her home and talked on the telephone with a friend. He had parked his truck near Interstate 81 in West Hanover Township.

He also faces an attempted murder charge for the throat-slashing of another Pennsylvania woman four days after Ewalt was killed.

Police departments across the country and the FBI are trying to match Lane to other unsolved homicides, as his routes over the last two decades have taken him as far north as Massachusetts, as far west as California and as far south as Florida.

So far, no new DNA matches have turned up, authorities said.


The following is a synopsis -- edited for clarity and chronology -- of the video-recorded statement Adam Leroy Lane gave police, describing how he killed Monica Massaro in her Bloomsbury home on July 29, 2007.

"I was walking around, monkeying around like I always do. I decided to go for a walk cause I was, I had lots of time. I got to where I'd walk five miles a night. ... I just walked down the street. ... Went and cut through some yards.

"I just picked one (house) at random, walking through the neighborhood. How many, you know, if I seen somebody in the house or I seen somebody awake, I'd pass it. I didn't want no confrontation. ... Couple of houses, they were locked. ... The door (to Massaro's house) was unlocked, and I went in.

"I know I'm driving the nails in my own coffin, but you wanted the truth. This is the best I know how to describe it. ... And I'm trying not to die. I'm trying to tell you it was an accident. ... I was looking for money. I was losing everything I had. I don't have much, didn't have much, and now I've lost everything, including my family. ... You all should get a big conviction off this."

"There were no lights on. ... I was in the house -- in the kitchen -- got the keys (to Massaro's car) that's on the table. I went out the back door, unlocked her car, got the pocketbook out, set it down , went through it. ... Then I went in the (bedroom) closet and started, she come in."

"I was in here, she ... didn't turn the light on, but when she seen me come around the corner, she touched --she had a remote control to the fan -- turned that light on and went to screaming.

"She sit straight up in bed and got out of bed when she seen me and started screaming. And I tried to get her to be quiet. ... And we started struggling. I didn't even have a knife out, I mean, you know I only had the knife there in case a big dog."

"I tried to put my hand over her mouth to get her to be quiet. ... She bit my hand. ... Well, when I tried to get away, she wouldn't let me get away, she wouldn't let me leave."

"I tried to push her back on the bed so I could get out. I fell. I had two back surgeries, I ain't got no strength. I mean, I might look big and mean, but I'm not. I'm peasly really when it comes to wrestling around with anybody. Ask the man that put a choke hold on me (in the bedroom of the Massachusetts home where he was captured by a teenage girl's father) because he weighted 70 pounds less than I did."

"Well, I had pushed her down at that point. I was gonna show her the knife to scare her, maybe I thought she'd let me go. And I was leaning on the knife, next to the bed or on the bed, for support. And she rolled, and she rolled over to get away and got cut with it."

"I thought maybe it was jut a little scrape or something. God, there was so much blood. ... She bled to death. I couldn't do nothing about it. ... It didn't take very long. Less than 60 seconds."

"I thought if I made it look like somebody murd-, went in and ravaged her and all that, it'd make it a little better, but they wouldn't look toward me. ... I wanted to make it look like somebody, like some maniac, sex crime. ... I cut here in a couple places. After she was dead. Between the legs, on her stomach."

"See, this ain't, this ain't making it better, this is making me look like a maniac. ... But I didn't mean to hurt nobody. I didn't want to go to jail for the rest of my life or get a needle stuck in my arm."

"I didn't not have any relations with that woman, before, after or during. ... I love my wife very much. I ain't out for sexual joys."

"I went out the back door beside the car and up through the yard and back to the truck stop. I took her pocketbook from the car and a necklace I found in one of the drawers. ... I threw the credit cards and license in, in the trash can. Threw the (pocketbook) on top of a building. ... I meant to throw (the necklace) away and never did."

"After that, and after that happened, I went back to the truck and, and tried to eat, and I bought a radar detector and went somewhere else, laid down and tried to sleep."



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