Lansdale man scooped out own father’s eyeball, killed him with butter knife

A 30-year-old Lansdale man is facing criminal charges for attacking and murdering his sleeping 74-year-old adoptive father with a butter knife after ingesting unknown narcotics.

“I just tried to kill everybody in the house, I need help,” Preston Lonnberg-Lane told a 911 operator he called at 4:44 a.m. on March 27 after mortally wounding his father, according to a transcript of the call provided by the Montco DA’s office. “There’s people dead.”

A 911 operator coached Lonnberg-Lane into remaining near his house, and he was arrested standing barefoot in the driveway in a bloody T-shirt outside the Lansdale home he shared with his father, 74-year-old Thomas Lane.

Inside they found another resident, Alvin Lane, who was calling 911 and directed police upstairs. In the bedroom they found Thomas Lane semi-conscious and covered in blood on the floor of his bedroom. His eyeball was found on the floor, a butter knife was lying beside him. He had been stabbed in the head, neck and arm, according to a Lansdale Police Department affidavit of probable cause.

Now Lonnberg-Lane is charged with first-degree murder and related charges, and will be in court April 9 for a preliminary hearing, the Mongtomery County DA’s office said.

“This father was asleep in his bedroom and was savagely attacked by his son,” Montco DA Kevin Steele said in a statement. “Now the man is dead and a son is behind bars.”

Lane was flown to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in critical condition. He died from hyper-extensive brain hemorrhages two days later, on March 29, at 2:59 p.m.

Lonnberg-Lane allegedly confessed to attacking his father during an interview with detectives on the afternoon of March 27. According to the police affidavit, he said at 3:30 a.m. that he snorted two bags of what he believed to be fentanyl and tried to go to sleep, listened to some music, then attacked his father.

According to the affidavit, he told the detective he “got up and grabbed a butter knife from the kitchen and tried to kill my dad,” adding that he stabbed and punched him before he put him in a chokehold and “tried to pull out his eye.”

Lonnberg-Lane said he stopped the attack when he heard Lane say, “Preston, Preston, what are you doing?”

According to his obituary, Thomas E. Lane was a widower originally from Philadelphia who had served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War. Born in Philadelphia he was the last of eight siblings and is survived by a daughter, several grand-children and great-grand-children. 

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