A woman believed to be a QAnon follower was charged with killing a legal theorist trying to help her regain custody of her daughters
Kentuckywoman that appears to be tied to the fringe QAnonand "sovereign citizens" movements has been arrested, police say, on charges of killing a man advising her on how to regain custody.
- Police speculated that Neely Petrie-Blanchard allegedly killed Hallett "due to her belief that the victim might have been working against her, or working to assist the government, in keeping her children away from her," according to a police report obtained by The Daily Beast.
- A number of confirmed or alleged crimes have been perpetrated by people thought to be QAnon believers.
A woman in Kentucky who appears to support the QAnon and so-called "sovereign citizens" movements has been accused of killing a legal theorist she had enlisted to help her regain custody of her two daughters, police said.
The Marion County Sheriff's Office in Florida arrested Neely Petrie-Blanchard on Monday in relation to the killing of Christopher Hallett. The sheriff's office said in a Facebook post on Tuesday that Petrie-Blanchard was in custody at the Lowndes County Jail in Georgia and would soon be extradited to Kentucky, where she would be charged. As of Wednesday, Petrie-Blanchard had not yet been extradited to Kentucky, a Marion County Jail representative told Insider.
"According to eyewitnesses, Neely Petrie-Blanchard was the person who had shot Hallett, because she believed he was unable to help her regain custody of her children," the sheriff's office said in the Facebook post.
Petrie-Blanchard's Facebook page includes references to the pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy theory, which baselessly alleges President Donald Trump is fighting a "deep state" cabal of human traffickers. Insider found that Petrie-Blanchard's Facebook page includes the QAnon hashtag "TheGreatAwakening," and The Daily Beast reported that she was photographed wearing a QAnon shirt.
In March, Petrie-Blanchard allegedly attempted to kidnap her two daughters from the custody of their grandmother, local news outlets reported at the time.
Hallett led an organization called E-Clause LLC that expressed viewpoints aligned with the "sovereign citizens" movement, which commonly overlaps with QAnon. Sovereign citizens believe that they "get to decide which laws to obey and which to ignore, and they don't think they should have to pay taxes," according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a nonprofit that tracks hate and extremism.
Petrie-Blanchard's Facebook page references Hallett's E-Clause movement often, calling herself an "E-Clause agent," Insider found. Her license plate also read "ECLAUSE," according to an amber alert issued in March when she allegedly attempted to kidnap her kids, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Hallett had no legal credentials but had gained a following among QAnon believers on YouTube, where he and an associate named Kirk Pendergrass offered guidance for mothers who had lost custody of their children, according to The Daily Beast. The Daily Beast reported that Hallett once claimed in court that Trump had given him the power to invent a new legal system.
Witnesses of Hallett's killing told police that Hallett was working to help Petrie-Blanchard obtain custody of her children, but that at the time of Sunday's killing she had lost trust in him, The Daily Beast said.
Police speculated that Petrie-Blanchard allegedly killed Hallett "due to her belief that the victim might have been working against her, or working to assist the government, in keeping her children away from her," according to a police report obtained by The Daily Beast.
QAnon has been linked to several crimes, including at least two killings, and the FBI has warned that it poses a domestic terrorism threat. The once-fringe theory has become increasingly mainstream during the pandemic, worrying extremism experts of the movement's recruitment power.
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