The victim, Victor King, was Thompson’s landlord, the Hartford Courant reported, from whom Thompson was renting a room. Police also say they found evidence suggesting that Thompson is a member of the “sovereign citizens” movement.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Police Say Thompson Threatened King Before Killing Him
Homicide investigation underway, 784 Asylum Avenue. Adult male victim located within the residence. Person of interest located and is with investigators. More information as it becomes available. -LT. PC pic.twitter.com/z52t8ukLCW
— Hartford Police CT (@HartfordPolice) July 27, 2020
Hartford Police Department spokesman Lieutenant Paul Cicero told CNN that police found a rental agreement between King and Thompson. The Courant reported that Thompson had rented a vacant bedroom in King’s residence at 784 Asylum Avenue.
According to CNN, King and Thompson got into a heated dispute Saturday morning, August 1, over Thompson’s nonpayment of rent, which resulted in King asking Thompson to move out. Soon after, King called 911, telling police that Thompson was “waving a sword at him in a threatening and terrorizing manner.”
According to the warrant, CNN reported, King gave law enforcement Thompson’s cell phone number, but it is unclear whether police and Thompson actually met. The next day, a neighbor and one of King’s friends contacted police, expressing concern about King and asking police to conduct a welfare check.
Officers who went into King’s home found him on the floor where, according to a preliminary medical examiner’s investigation, “King’s injuries were consistent with a large edged weapon, noting ‘lacerations to the landlord’s right arm, upper chest and across the neck causing decapitation,'” CNN reported. His body was “covered in bedding” and there was “severe trauma” to King’s arms, chest, shoulder and neck, according to the Courant.
2. Thompson May Consider Himself a Member of the ‘Sovereign Citizen Movement’
Okay I *really* want to see what Jerry Thompson's sovereign citizen letter actually says. Any argument purported to justify landlord decapitation is on the "to be aware of" list.
— Ettinbriar (@AnSquatch) August 2, 2020
Hartford Police’s Auto Theft Unit found Thompson in a car in Keney Park and took him into custody for questioning at 9:15 p.m., the Courant reported. According to CNN, members of the Hartford Police Dive Team found the weapon they believe was used in the murder in the Farmington River.
Thompson has largely refused to speak to investigators or even in his own defense at court, the Courant reported. When police detectives questioned Thompson, he wrote on a piece of paper, “paper in glove compart in Jeep is all you need,” the Courant reported. That paperwork, found during the execution of a search warrant, suggested that Thompson may have been a part of the “sovereign citizen” movement.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, “Sovereign citizens believe that they — not judges, juries, law enforcement or elected officials — get to decide which laws to obey and which to ignore, and they don’t think they should have to pay taxes.” The FBI describes members of this movement as “anti-government extremists” and says that “the list of illegal actions committed by these groups, cells, and individuals is extensive (and puts them squarely on our radar).”
Thompson is currently in Garner Correctional Institution on a $2 million bail, according to jail records, which also state that his arraignment is set for October 6 of this year. It is unclear whether Thompson, who also did not speak to his public defender, as Oxygen reported, is actually a member of this movement because he hasn’t spoken.
3. Thompson Has Previous Convictions
— Yvonne💋 (@YvonneSalinas) August 2, 2020
The Hartford Courant reported that Thompson “has previous convictions for assault and robbery.”
A search of Connecticut’s criminal database does show a “Thompson Jerry David” born in 1977 who was sentenced to four years in jail after pleading guilty to a 2013 robbery. Another record shows a “Thompson Jerry D” born in 1977 who pleaded guilty to three misdemeanors of threatening, reckless endangerment and criminal mischief in 2018. Heavy reached out to the Hartford Police Department for confirmation that this is the same Thompson being accused of King’s murder.
That history may explain why police believe the alleged dispute between King and Thompson ended in King’s murder. The current coronavirus pandemic and the lack of rent relief have also led to frustrations between landlords and renters across the country.
According to KTLA-5, the amount of rent, if any, that Thompson owed is unknown, and Thompson’s employment status is also unknown.
4. King Was an Accomplished Bridge Player & Beloved Retiree
Reverend Brown and the Mothers United Against Violence hold a vigil in memory of West End resident, Victor King. – LT. PC pic.twitter.com/KGZAloCZdq
— Hartford Police CT (@HartfordPolice) August 1, 2020
According to the Hartford Courant, King had worked at Travelers Insurance Company for 20 years in their IT department before he retired two years ago. Then he set about pursuing his passion for bridge, racking up 15,298.55 masterpoints, the paper reported.
His cousin, Jim Banks, told the Courant that the 64-year-old retiree “was one of the best players in the country” and had reached the highest rank for a bridge player: Grand Life Master. Banks also said his cousin was looking forward to visiting family at Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire.
“He was one of the good guys,” Banks told the paper. “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.”
5. ‘Jerry Thompson’ Shares His Name With Multiple High-Profile People, Including a Convicted Murderer
Connecticut Man Charged For Decapitating Landlord With Samurai Sword in Rent Dispute https://t.co/qGcgbqNTgo
— COED (@COED) July 30, 2020
Jerry Thompson, in addition to being the man accused of murder in this case, is also the name of several high-profile people. This Thompson is not to be confused with:
Jerald Stillwell Thompson, who competed in the 1948 Olympics as a long-distance runner and was inducted into the Texas Track & Field Hall of Fame.
Dr. Jerry D. Thompson of Texas A&M University, a Regents Professor and professor of history, former dean of the College of Arts and author of multiple books.
Convicted murderer Jerry K. Thompson, who was accused of murdering a businessman by the name of Melvin Hillis and one of his employees in 1991; Thompson was then killed in state prison, according to local news station WTHR.