Connecticut man decapitates landlord with samurai sword over rent, claims immunity as a 'sovereign citizen'
42-year-old Jerry David Thompson had recently moved into the home of Victor King, 64, a Travelers insurance retiree and professional bridge player
A man who allegedly used a samurai sword to decapitate his Connecticut landlord has reportedly refused to talk to investigators about the murder, saying he is a sovereign citizen. 42-year-old Jerry David Thompson, of Hartford, had recently moved into the Asylum Avenue home of Victor King, 64, a Travelers insurance retiree and professional bridge player, as reported by the Hartford Courant. According to the arrest warrant cited by the news outlet, Thompson threatened his landlord with the sword after the duo became embroiled in a dispute about the suspect not paying rent.
King had reported to authorities on Saturday -- a day before he was beheaded -- that Thompson had waved a blade at him. King's friends alerted the authorities when they couldn't reach him on Sunday. Responding officers and firefighters had to break into the house before discovering the bloody scene. According to the report, police tracked Thompson down shortly after, but he refused to say anything to detectives. Instead, he scribbled "paper in glove compart in Jeep is all you need" on a piece of paper.
Police subsequently recovered paperwork from the vehicle's glove compartment, which suggested Thompson considered himself a sovereign citizen who was not subject to the law. Thompson, who has previously been convicted for assault and robbery, remained mum even as he was arraigned in Superior Court on Tuesday and ordered to be held on a $2 million bail. According to the Courant, King had worked in IT at Travelers for over two decades. He had only retired in 2018 so he could focus on playing bridge.
“He was very good at it. Very good at teaching others to play it. Just a kind and gentle person whose first love was bridge,” Jim Banks, the victim's cousin, told the Courant.
“He was one of the good guys,” he continued. “One that would never hurt a soul. 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.”
Paul Linxwiler, executive editor of the Bridge Bulletin, described King as a Grand Life Master, which he said "is our highest rank.” According to Linxwiler, one must have at least 10,000 masterpoints to achieve that rank, which means “you have to play a lot…and you have to be good, too.” American Contract Bridge League coordinator Patsy Edwards revealed King had accumulated nearly 15,300 masterpoints and that he had won a national championship in 2016. “He was known as a top player from New England,” Linxwiler added to the paper.
Meanwhile, Banks said he was unable to understand why anyone would want to hurt his cousin. “I can’t imagine him doing anything that would provoke somebody,” he said. “That just wasn’t in his personality.” According to The Courant, King's murder is Hartford's 14th homicide this year. Police said twelve of the homicide cases reported this year have been closed with arrests.
If you or anyone you know has information about Victor King’s murder, you are urged to contact Det. Scott Parker at 860-757-4157 or the HPD anonymous tip line at 860-722-TIPS.