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A dispute over rent turned fatal over the weekend after a Connecticut man allegedly used a samurai sword to murder his landlord.
Jerry David Thompson, 42, was arrested Sunday and charged the following day with the murder of 64-year-old Victor King, the Hartford Police Department confirmed to Oxygen.com.
King, an accomplished bridge player, was found dead in his home on Asylum Avenue on Sunday after police were called to perform a wellness check, authorities said, according to the Hartford Courant. King’s friends had not heard from him in more than a day; upon their arrival, authorities found the retiree dead on the kitchen floor with a sheet covering some of his body. King had sustained “severe trauma” to his arms, chest, shoulder, and neck from a samurai sword, police told the paper.
Thompson had been renting a room in King’s home for less than a year and authorities zeroed in on him as a suspect after King’s friends reported that King and Thompson had had disagreements over rent, according to another report from the Hartford Courant. The arguments stemmed from Thompson not paying his rent, and that led to Thompson allegedly threatening King with a sword, according to an arrest warrant obtained by the paper.
The day before his death, King went to the police to report Thompson for threatening him with a weapon, the Courant reports. After authorities found King's body the next day, they set out searching for Thompson and found him driving in the North End area. After being transported back to the station, Thompson refused to speak with the authorities; he instead directed them to a piece of paper in his Jeep, and that paper suggested that Thompson considered himself a sovereign citizen, according to the Courant. Those who subscribe to the Sovereign Citizen movement believe that the law does not apply to them, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Thompson, who has previous convictions related to assault and robbery, was arraigned on Tuesday, the Courant reports. He again refused to speak, and a judge ordered him to be held on $2 million bail. Having also refused to speak to a public defender, Thompson is currently without legal representation; he is scheduled to next appear in court on Aug. 18, per the paper’s report.
Hartford police announced Thompson’s arrest on Sunday, but mentioned neither King nor Thompson by name. The department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Oxygen.com.
King spent more than 20 years working in the IT department for Travelers insurance company before his retirement in 2018, according to the Courant. His cousin, Jim Banks, told the paper that King's true love, however, was bridge, and he was one of the best players in the country. He’d reached the title of Grand Life Master, which is the highest rank for a bridge player, Paul Linxwiler, the executive editor of the Bridge Bulletin, told the paper.
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