Man charged in Southington cult-related murder offered plea deal

Published on Wednesday, 1 May 2019 21:29
Written by Charles Paullin


NEW BRITAIN - One of two men charged with murdering a member of an area cult has been offered a plea deal by the prosecution, it was announced in court Wednesday.

Rudy Hannon, 72, of Nevada, is charged with murder and murder-commission of a felony in a case involving the 2004 killing and dismembering of Paul Sweetman, a “Chief Apostle” in the 1970s cult started by the late “Brother Julius” Schacknow.

Hannon appeared in New Britain Superior Court Wednesday with his attorney, J. Patton Brown, who asked for a continuance. Brown will return to court on June 3 to accept or reject the deal.

No details on the offer were discussed in court. New Britain State’s Attorney Brian Preleski, who is prosecuting the case, had no comment for the court record.

At Hannon’s last appearance in March, Brown said he was waiting to receive some files on the case from federal agencies.

Hannon in accused of convincing Sorek Minery, that Sweetman, of Southington, was hurting his wife, Joanne, and needed to be killed.

Joanne Sweetman was believed to be the “Holy Spirit” by cult members.

Minery allegedly beat Sweetman, then he and Hannon stuffed his body into a freezer at Minery’s shop in Plainville, the warrant said.

Minery then allegedly dismembered Sweetman’s body with a saw and disposed of the body parts in various places in New Britain.

Minery faces the same charges as Hannon.

One of Sweetman’s legs was found by New Britain police a few months later, but detectives didn’t crack the case until 2016, when a lieutenant in the Criminal Investigations Division noticed that Sweetman had been reported missing around the same time the leg was found.

The investigation led police to find Sweetman’s torso buried under a shed that Minery owned in New Britain.

Hannon remains in custody on $2 million bond. Minery is due back in court on June 5 and remains in custody, also on $2 million bond.

Posted in New Britain Herald, Southington Herald on Wednesday, 1 May 2019 21:29. Updated: Wednesday, 1 May 2019 21:31.