HOUTZDALE, Pa. (WHTM) – Matthew Vanzandt, the Lancaster man sentenced for the 2019 fatal stabbing of his partner Ian Shannon, was found dead in his cell at SCI Houtzdale.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, prison security and medical staff attempted life-saving measures on Vanzandt on May 11 after he was found unresponsive in his cell. Vanzandt was pronounced dead at 8:11 p.m.
Vanzandt was serving a 12- to 24-year sentence for Murder (1st Degree) in Lancaster County. He had been at SCI Houtzdale since September 17, 2021.
Pennsylvania State Police at Clearfield were notified and will conduct an investigation. The official cause of death will be determined by the Clearfield County Coroner’s Office.
In March 2019 police said they were at a home on the 400 block of Dickens Drive around 12:48 a.m. when a neighbor reported a possible domestic disturbance. The officers saw no signs of a disturbance, however, and no one answered the door.
Around 3:14 a.m., officers were asked to check on Shannon’s welfare. They returned to the home and found him dead in a second-floor bedroom.
The welfare check came after VanZandt sought medical attention for a hand injury at an Allentown hospital. He was covered in blood and told hospital staff that he had stabbed his boyfriend to death, the complaint states.
VanZandt told Allentown police that he and Shannon had argued, and Shannon was mocking him for wanting to end their relationship. He said when Shannon continued to mock him, he pulled out his pocket knife and stabbed Shannon several times in the face, neck, and body.