Pennsylvania car explosion was double murder suicide by ‘miserable’ father


The father responsible for a car explosion which killed him, his two-year-old son and an older man who he had a shadowy friendship with did so after writing angry letters to police and his family taking credit for the killings. 

Jacob Schmoyer, 26, killed himself, his two-year-old son J.J. and his’ friend’ David Hallman, 66, by setting off a homemade bomb in his car in Allentown, Pennsylvania, last September 29. 

It remains a mystery specifically why Schmoyer wanted to take his own life let alone those of his son and Hallman, a 66-year-old grandfather. Neither man’s family has been able to explain their friendship and police are being tight lipped on how they knew each other.

On September 29, Schmoyer picked Hallman up outside his home and within seconds of the older man sitting down in the passenger seat, the car blew up. 

Before the explosion, he sent letters to his relatives and to the Allentown Police Department taking credit for it and explaining, somewhat, why. 

Police have refused to disclosed what exactly he said in those letters but said they were ‘full of anger and vitriol’. 

His relationship with Hallman, who neighbors say watched over their neighborhood, remains a mystery. 

Members of his immediate family told they had never heard Schmoyer speak about the older man.  

The letters were received by their various recipients after the explosion.  In addition to confessing to the setting up the explosion, Schmoyer confessed to a number of other crimes including petty theft and burglary.   

Video footage taken by surveillance cameras at a business near the incident shows Hallman getting into Schmoyer’s car at 9.31pm.  

Schmoyer was in the driver’s seat, Hallman was in the passenger seat and J.J., who was two, was in a carseat behind his father. 

Police will not say what Schmoyer, who lived 10 miles from where the explosion happened, used to make the bombs. 

On Thursday, his grandmother revealed that she had received one of the letters and was devastated to learn it was not, as the family thought it was, a ‘freak accident’.

‘I really did believe he would never do this, maybe in my heart I knew he would do it to himself, but never to JJ,’ she told WFMZ. 

Authorities have not yet revealed what his motive for killing his son and his friend was. 

‘He was miserable. The four letters describe a miserable life, he was unhappy with himself, he was, I don’t know if shame is too strong a word but he admitted to a number of criminal acts, he didn’t think he would get any better. 

‘There was a lot of hatred there, some directed at Mr. Hallman. Hatred in him that caused this act. This despicable act,’ John Gallagher , Chief of the Allentown branch office of the US Attorney’s Office, said at a press conference. 

Before his murderous actions were revealed, Schmoyer’s sister Tina told that he was a loving father who, she said, would never have hurt his son.  

‘My brother was a wonderful father, son, and brother…he adored his son and would never do anything that would harm him,’ she said. 

She said she had never heard him speak of Hallman, who was more than double his age, and had no idea what the nature of their relationship was. 

‘Never once did my brother speak of this 66-year-old-man. I have never seen this man nor even knew this man existed I do believe this was a freak accident,’ she said. 

Hallman’s family were equally stunned his death. His niece paid tribute to him as a happy, ‘silly’ man who loved his dog. The dog was injured in the explosion but was not in the car at the time. It survived. 

On social media, Hallman said he worked as a ‘machine professional’ but it is unclear what industries he specialized in.  

J.J’s mother has not commented on their deaths. 

On Thursday, police would not be drawn on the dynamics of their home life but they indicated there were domestic problems. 

‘There’s a lot of stuff going on in the family. There’s a lot of anger, there’s a lot of vitriol in the letters,’ they said. 

How he organized delivery of the letters is also unclear but, the police said, he wanted them to receive them after the fact. 

‘He was very meticulous about wanting to make sure we knew how he put this thing together,’ he added. 


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