Matthew VanZandt

Matthew VanZandt

A Monroe County man will spend up to 24 years in prison, followed by 16 years of probation, for fatally stabbing his boyfriend two years ago in Lancaster Township.

Matthew VanZandt, 32, pleaded guilty but mentally ill to third-degree murder on June 4 before Lancaster County Judge Merrill Spahn.

Spahn found VanZandt was severely mentally disabled at the time he killed Ian Shannon and recommended that he be treated for his mental illness. VanZandt, who has been incarcerated since his arrest March 6, 2019, must spend at least 12 years in prison.

VanZandt's attorneys were prepared to have a psychiatrist testify about his mental illness, including whether bipolar disorder affected his ability to follow the law, according to court documents.

VanZandt stabbed Shannon, 31, with a pocket knife at Shannon’s home on Dickens Drive early on the morning of March 6, after VanZandt told Shannon he wanted to end their relationship. VanZandt told police Shannon began mocking him and told him he wasn’t going to leave Shannon, according to police.

VanZandt then went to an Allentown hospital for a hand injury, where a nurse told a detective VanZandt was covered in blood. VanZandt then told an Allentown police officer about the stabbing.

Manheim Township police were notified and found Shannon on a bed with several stab wounds to his torso.

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