Jerry David Thompson was arraigned on Tuesday in Superior Court in Hartford, charged with "using a samurai sword to decapitate his landlord" this weekend. He was ordered to be held in lieu of $2 million in bail.
Thompson is refusing to speak with police and is claiming he is a sovereign citizen, according to the Hartford Courant. He has also reportedly refused to speak with a public defender and is not being represented by an attorney. His case was continued to August 18 by presiding Judge Ann Lynch.
Thompson was identified as a suspect by friends of victim Victor King, who had rented him a room. The two were said to have had a dispute about Thompson not paying his rent when Thompson threatened King with the sword.
King went to Hartford Police on Saturday about the threats, one day before he was killed. He told police Thompson had been "waving the sword" at him.
On Sunday, King's friends called the police when they couldn't reach him. Sunday afternoon, police forced their way into King's home, only to find "a lot of blood and King’s badly slashed body covered in bedding."
Thompson was quickly tracked by police to the city's North End, where he was apprehended and brought to the police station. Once in custody, he refused to say anything. He wrote on a sheet of paper “paper in glove compart in Jeep is all you need.”
The paperwork suggested that Thompson viewed himself as a sovereign citizen and not subject to the law.
King was a retiree who previously worked for Travelers and was "an accomplished bridge player". “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,” the victim’s cousin said.
Paul Linxwiler, executive editor of the Bridge Bulletin, called King a Grand Life Master, “which is our highest rank,” according to the NY Post. To get to that rank, "you have to play a lot…and you have to be good, too," he said. “He was known as a top player from New England.”
Thompson has had previous convictions for assault and robbery.