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Man charged in Hartford homicide used samurai sword to decapitate his landlord

A Connecticut man has been arrested on suspicion of beheading his landlord with a samurai sword following a dispute over rent, according to reports.

Jerry David Thompson, 42, was charged with the murder of Victor King after the victim's body was discovered on Monday.

The Hartford Police Department confirmed that an investigation was launched after an adult male victim was found at an address in 784 Asylum Avenue and that a suspect had been taken into custody.

During his arraignment at the Superior Court in Hartford on Tuesday, Thompson refused to talk as he considers himself a sovereign citizen. The sovereign citizen movement, which has several connections to extremism, believe they do not believe they have to follow laws or pay taxes.

According to an arrest warrant, seen by the Hartford Courant, Thompson was identified as the suspect in the investigation by friends of King. King was renting a room to the 42-year-old Thompson at his Asylum Avenue home.

The pair had reportedly argued about Thompson not paying rent, resulting in the suspect threatening King with a samurai sword.

King went to the police regarding the threat with the sword on Saturday, the day before he was killed.

On Sunday, emergency services forced their way into King's home after friends said they were unable to get in contact with him. Police and firefighters then found the victim's body.

Thompson was soon taken into custody but refused to talk to detectives.

During questioning, he eventually wrote on a piece of paper, "paper in glove compart [sic] in Jeep is all you need."

The paper Thompson referred to was a document explaining that he considers himself a sovereign citizen.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) describes the sovereign citizen movement as being "rooted in racism and anti-Semitism" because it originates from conspiracy theories that Jewish people control all financial institutions and governments.

According to the SPLC, people who say they are sovereign citizens use pages and pages of paperwork for their advantage in legal cases.

"A simple traffic violation or pet-licensing case can end up provoking dozens of court filings containing hundreds of pages of pseudo-legal nonsense," the group said.

Several people who have identified as sovereign citizens have been behind a number of violent incidents, including the May 2010 shooting of two police officers in West Memphis, Arkansas, by father and son pair Jerry and Joseph Kane.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, sovereign citizen "guru" Jerry Kane told his supporters that he could get them out of paying their mortgages if they commit to his theories.

In 2011, following a spate of cases, the FBI announced that they consider sovereign-citizen extremists as being a domestic terrorist movement.

Terry Nichols, who was convicted of helping to plan the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people, is one of the more high-profile names to claim he is a sovereign citizen.

After also refusing to speak at his court appearing, Judge Ann Lynch moved Thompson's case to August 18. He is being held in lieu of $2 million bail.


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