Murder in Hamilton Township
On Oct. 9, 2009, Hamilton Township in Camden County, N.J., became the scene of a gruesome murder. John Quann Jr., who was 23 years old, lay slain in a wooded near the Atlantic City Expressway and Route 50; his body was not discovered until Oct. 14. John Quann Jr. was the father of two young children.
Quann could not have known that giving a ride to two female acquaintances would lead to his murder, but it did. On Oct. 9, 2009, Ashley McLaughlin, 23, of Sicklerville and Cynthia Myers, 27, of Camden called Quann to ask him for a ride. The two women were romantically involved with each other and said that their intentions from the beginning were to rob Quann to pay for their rent.
When Quann picked the women up, they asked him to stop at Cross Keys Road in Camden County. When he stopped there, Cynthia Myers distracted him by exiting his car. While Quann sat in the driver’s seat, McLaughlin hit him once in the head from the back seat. As Quann sat dazed and in pain, Myers got back into his car and used a scarf to strangle the man until he passed out.
The two women then drove the victim to the wooded area off the Atlantic City Expressway in Hamilton Township. Myers and McLaughlin continued to assault Quann with a hammer and tied his hands behind his back in what they later claimed was an attempt to scare him into giving them money. As Quann pleaded for his life and medical help, the women continued beating him in the head with a hammer until he died. His body was found five days later by a hunter.
Hamilton Township detectives Michael Mattioli, James Kirschner, and Larry Fernan worked with the Lindenwold Police Department and the Camden County prosecutor’s office. They used forensic evidence and witness statements to arrest the women the day after Quann’s body was discovered. The detectives then obtained partial confessions from Myers and McLaughlin.
The women were officially arraigned on Oct. 19, 2009, on charges of murder, felony murder and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose in the death of John Quann Jr. They were also charged with kidnapping and aggravated assault. In January 2010, Myers and McLaughlin plead guilty in the charges of felony murder and conspiracy to commit robbery.
On April 29, 2010, while Quann’s family looked on in the courtroom, Cynthia Myers was sentenced to 38 years in prison. She must serve at least 32 of those 38 years before becoming eligible for parole. Ashley McLaughlin was sentenced to 35 years and must serve at least 30 years before becoming eligible for parole. New Jersey abolished the death penalty in 2007.