A once obscure alliance forged in a world of internet conspiracy theories appears to have resulted in a murder last Sunday, with an infamous QAnon mom accused of shooting a marginal legal theorist.
Kentucky resident Neely Petrie-Blanchard had long lost custody of her daughters for reasons that are unclear. And to help her with that task, she turned to Chris Hallett, an amateur legal expert who offered bogus forensic services through a company called “E-Clause” and who promised Petrie- Blanchard that she could win back her daughters thanks to some ridiculous hearing tactics he borrowed. of the sovereign anti-government citizen movement.
Petrie-Blanchard has put everything on Hallett’s promises. When she saw her daughters, she dressed them in “E-Clause” shirts and put an “BLOCKED” license plate on her car.
But, along the way, something went wrong. On Sunday night, Hallett was found face down in the kitchen of his central Florida home, bleeding from multiple gunshot wounds to his back.
Deputies from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office who arrived at the scene said they found him already dead. They issued a multi-state arrest order for Petrie-Blanchard, who was arrested hours later in Georgia as the only suspect named in Hallett’s murder.
A witness who was in the house when the shooting took place told police that Petrie-Blanchard had become convinced that Hallett himself was involved in a plot to keep his children away from her. Hallett had been working on the Petrie-Blanchard custody case at the time of his death, witnesses said.
“It was assumed that the victim had been shot by [Petrie-Blanchard], because of her belief that the victim could have worked against her, or worked to help the government, to keep her children away from her, ”the police report read.
Hallte’s murder marks, what appears to be, the latest murder linked to the pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy theory. QAnon believers have also been charged with murders in New York and Washington, including an incident in which a QAnon supporter allegedly murdered a notorious Mafia boss in an attempt to take him to an imaginary QAnon court. The FBI would view QAnon as a potential source of domestic terrorism.
And it sheds disturbing new light on a faction of QAnon that understands Hallett’s false legal theories and a nationwide network of other conspiracy theorists who have harbored fugitives and inspired several alleged child abduction plots, including one involving Petrie-Blanchard.
Petrie-Blanchard did not respond to a request for comment.
In March, Petrie-Blanchard reportedly abducted his twin daughters from their grandmother’s custody in Kentucky, disappearing with them after delivering letters to bewildered local officials. The letters featured odd legal language borrowed from Hallett’s group to “claim” custody of his children.
“I am no longer” considered dead lost at sea, “wrote Petrie-Blanchard.
After days on the run, Petrie-Blanchard was finally discovered in Dawson Springs, Ky., With his daughters, hiding with a group of sovereign citizens.
Both Petrie-Blanchard and Hallett were part of an underground network of QAnon believers and fringe law theorists focused on custody battles. As The Daily Beast reported in August, the group inspired mothers who lost custody of their children to plot to kidnap them from parents or foster homes, prompting them to tell fictional QAnon stories on a nefarious “cabal” that teams up with child protection. services to abuse children.
Petrie-Blanchard, 33, had categorically adopted QAnon, a conspiracy theory movement that relies on anonymous online clues from a character named “Q” to imagine a world where Donald Trump is secretly at war with cannibalistic pedophiles in the Democratic Party. On Facebook, she posted pictures of herself at a Trump rally in a “Q” T-shirt referencing QAnon’s marginal belief that John F. Kennedy Jr. is still alive. After being released on bail for kidnapping, Petrie-Blanchard filmed herself taking the QAnon Oath, while her daughters were handed over to their grandmother’s care.
Hallett, 50, had become a key part of the QAnon YouTube network, spreading his bogus legal claims with his intermittent business partner Kirk Pendergrass. Although no man is registered as a lawyer in his home country or appears to have a legitimate legal education, they have promoted their services on QAnon’s YouTube shows to gain a following among a community of desperate mothers who had lost their children and solicited donations for their service.
Hallett’s legal services seem to have universally failed when they succeeded in going to court. He claimed Donald Trump had authorized him to create a separate legal system, a notion a federal judge found laughable in a January opinion, calling Hallett’s legal work “rambling.”
“The Court refuses to take into account the fantasy of the plaintiff that he acts at the request of the president”, one reads in the opinion.
Often the women who deployed Hallett’s legal tactics found themselves in even worse situations as family court judges began to question the sanity of anyone who was convinced Trump had appointed a Florida man. at random to run a separate legal system.
Yet Hallett’s reputation in the world of aggrieved QAnon mothers has grown large enough that a runaway FBI fugitive comes to his home in Ocala, Fla., To enlist his help on his custody case. Like Petrie-Blanchard, Colorado mother Cyndie Abcug had fallen under the sway of Hallett and her allies on YouTube, convinced that QAnon believers could help get her son back from foster care. According to a police report, Abcug was plotting an armed assault on the foster home along with other armed QAnon supporters, convinced by QAnon claims that foster parents were “pedophiles”.
Abcug’s teenage daughter reportedly informed the police about the plot. But Abcug fled the state before his arrest and became a fugitive across the country with the help of QAnon supporters. Abcug eventually surrenders to Hallett, convinced that he could help her regain custody of her son. But Abcug ended up becoming disillusioned with Hallett’s alleged legal abilities, according to one of his fellow travelers, and was later arrested by the FBI in Montana while still at large.
Petrie-Blanchard, by comparison, seems to have remained convinced Clause E could help her recover custody of his daughters. Sure on her Facebook page, she even described herself as an “E-Clause agent”.
But their relationship appears to have turned fatal, allegedly fueled by Petrie-Blanchard’s imagination of a QAnon-style government conspiracy.
An anonymous female witness and her daughter were at Hallett’s home when the incident occurred on Sunday, according to a police report. When the witness heard what sounded like a firecracker in the kitchen, she and her daughter investigated the noise. They saw Hallett standing with “a pained look on his face” and Petrie-Blanchard standing behind him holding a pistol that appeared to have been fired and stuck, according to testimony.
“Oh shit, oh my God, please no,” Hallett said, according to the witness.
“You hurt my kids, you bastard,” Petrie-Blanchard said, according to the witness’s daughter to police, before aiming the gun. to the witness and his daughter.
As the witness and her daughter fled to the back of the house, they heard more shots fired at Hallett. When sheriff’s assistants investigating the gunfire arrived at the scene, they found Hallett “obviously deceased from numerous gunshot wounds”, and shell and live ammunition cases strewn around the house.
Petrie-Blanchard was arrested hours after the shooting in Lowndes County, Georgia. She has currently only been charged with a fugitive, but is expected to be charged with murder when extradited to Florida, according to the Marion County Sheriff’s Department.
Hallett’s murder shocked the E-Clause internet community, which has more than 2,000 Facebook fans. While Hallett’s Facebook fans have expressed their shock, Pendergrass presumably attributed Hallett’s death to the deep state in a YouTube livestream on Monday night.
“You know how the deep state doesn’t like to be exposed,” he said.
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