A Connecticut man has been arrested for using a samurai sword to decapitate his landlord, a professional bridge player, over a rent dispute, authorities said this week.
Jerry David Thompson, 42, was charged with murder Monday after his 64-year-old landlord, Victor King, was found dead in the kitchen of his Hartford home on Sunday afternoon during a welfare check, the Hartford Police Department said. Since his arrest, Thompson has refused to speak about the crime to authorities or a public defender, claiming he is a sovereign citizen.
He is currently being held on a $2 million bond after his Tuesday arraignment in Supreme Court in Hartford, where he remained silent.
“He was one of the good guys,” Jim Banks, King’s cousin, told the Hartford Courant. “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.”
According to an arrest report first obtained by the Courant, Thompson had moved into a vacant room in King’s home on Asylum Avenue within the last year. Over the weekend, Thompson allegedly threatened his landlord with the samurai sword after an argument about him not paying rent.
King was so alarmed by the threat, the report states, he immediately went to Hartford police on Saturday to report the incident, telling them his tenant was waving the sword at him.
The next day, several of King’s friends called authorities when they couldn’t reach him. Hours later, at around 3:40 p.m., authorities went to the Asylum Avenue home, where they found the bridge player on the kitchen floor, partially covered with a sheet. King was pronounced dead at the scene.
The arrest report states authorities believe Thompson sliced him with a samurai sword, causing “severe trauma” to the 64-year-old’s arms, chest, shoulder, and neck.
Police found Thompson less than six hours later in a car in Keney Park—about seven minutes away from the grisly crime scene. Once back at police headquarters, the warrant states Thompson refused to speak with detectives about the incident, only writing: “paper in glove compart in Jeep is all you need.”
Police later found paperwork inside the glove compartment that suggested Thompson views himself as a sovereign citizen. Supporters of the sovereign citizen movement believe they do not have to follow laws or pay taxes.
King, who retired from Travelers insurance company in 2018, was considered a Grand Life Master in Bridge, according to the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL). Known as a top player in New England, King won the national championship in 2016.
To become a Grand Life Master in the game, according to the ACBL, a player must obtain at least 10,000 masterpoints, which are earned each game. At the time of his death, King had accumulated 15,298.55 masterpoints.
“I can’t imagine him doing anything that would provoke somebody,” Banks told the Hartford Courant. “That just wasn’t in his personality.”