Two men and two women, including a 40-year-old Vineland man, were arrested and charged Friday with the slaying of a Gloucester County man last week.

John McConnell, 54, of Franklin Township, was found dead by his brother on the bathroom floor of his log home Monday. His hands and feet had been bound with duct tape and zip ties.

An autopsy found that McConnell died of asphyxiation and blunt force trauma to the head and neck on March 31.

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Following an investigation by local police and the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office, the following people were charged with aggravated assault, burglary, criminal restraint, murder and robbery:

  • David J. Russ, 33, of Glassboro
  • Valerie G. Niessner, 47, of Sewell
  • Jon O. Nordberg, 40, of Vineland
  • Amanda C. Rickerd, 18, of Mantua

The four were charged at the Franklin Township Police Department.

Nordberg and Buss were held in the Gloucester County Jail in lieu of $1.5 million and $1 million bail, respectively. Rickerd and Niessner were held in Salem County's women's detection facility in lieu of $750,000 bail each.

According to the Prosecutor's Office, the arrests resulted from information received by investigators on Thursday. Buss and Nordberg were both friends of McConnell. Niessner was Nordberg's girlfriend and Rickerd was Niessner's niece.

Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean F. Dalton, in a written statement, said investigators “worked tirelessly from the time Mr. McConnell was found through the night of the arrests.”

“These dangerous individuals ... are no longer a danger to our community,” said Franklin police Chief Michael Rock, also in a statement. “I am certainly not alone in saying that I am relieved that the responsible parties will face justice for their crimes against Mr. McConnell.”

In the course of the investigation, two cars believed to have been used in the crime were seized.

An underwater diving team from the State Police TEAMS Unit recovered a safe from a Vineland area lake that was taken from the McConnell home.

Vineland police assisted in the investigation.

Contact Wallace McKelvey:


Follow Wallace McKelvey on Twitter @wjmckelvey

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