Rent dispute takes deadly turn as tenant decapitates landlord with katana sword

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(TMU) – A Connecticut man is facing charges of murder after he allegedly used a katana sword to decapitate his landlord following a dispute over rent.

Jerry David Thompson, 42, of Hartford had recently moved into a room he had rented from Victor King, 64, who was a retired Travelers insurance employee and well-known professional bridge player, reports the Hartford Courant.

After King alleged that Thompson was failing to pay his rent in a timely fashion, an argument ensued during which the angry tenant brandished a samurai sword against his landlord, according to an arrest warrant. King reported the threat to police on Saturday.

On Sunday, police and firefighters discovered King’s bloodied, decapitated corpse in his apartment after friends notified authorities that they were unable to reach him.

Police eventually detained Thompson as he was driving around the North End of Hartford, but the suspected murderer refused to cooperate with investigators. Instead, he handed them a handwritten note that read: “paper in glove compart in Jeep is all you need.”

When the police checked the vehicle’s globe compartment, they found paperwork indicating that Thompson sees himself as a “sovereign citizen” who is not subject to the authority of the state or federal government.

Members of the “sovereign” movement believe that at some stage in United States history, a corporation usurped the constitutional power of the U.S. government and, after driving the government bankrupt, indebted the country to a cabal of so-called “international bankers.” As a result, U.S. citizens who are issued birth certificates and Social Security numbers are considered property of the shadowy alleged global financiers.

However, sovereigns believe that by asserting their sovereignty and denouncing the powers of authorities they deem illegitimate  and corrupt, they are able to become “freemen” or “state citizens.”

Because some sovereigns have clashed with law enforcement officers, some members of the movement have been classified as a domestic terrorist threat by the FBI.

Thompson, who has previous run-ins with the law on assault and robbery charges, was arraigned on Tuesday and is currently being held on $2 million bail.

The dramatic and grisly murder of a landlord comes as experts have warned of a “tsunami” of potential evictions striking renters across the U.S. this summer, with experts warning that anywhere between 20 million to 28 million people could become homeless between now and September.

According to the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project (CEDP), one in five of the 110 million Americans who rent their homes – over 20 million people – are at risk of eviction by the end of September.

However, while Thompson’s inability to pay King rent monies owed sparked the argument, it remains unclear if any other motives or factors played a role in the deadly dispute between tenant and landlord.

King had recently retired from his IT position at Travelers to devote his life to professional bridge.

“He was very good at it. Very good at teaching others to play it,” King’s cousin Jim Banks said. “Just a kind and gentle person whose first love was bridge,”

“[King was] one of the good guys — one that would never hurt a soul,” he added.” One that would always reach out and help others. He was pleasant as can be. Always seemed to be happy. He was just a joy to be around.”