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April 22, 2024

Pennsylvania man arrested after allegedly decapitating his father and displaying his head on YouTube

Pennsylvania man arrested after allegedly decapitating his father and displaying his head on YouTube

A Pennsylvania man has been arrested after allegedly killing his father, before displaying his decapitated head in a gruesome YouTube video while spouting right-wing conspiracy theories.

Justin Mohn, 32, is accused of killing his father, Michael Mohn, police told NBC News. While police did not release the victim’s age, public records show him to have been 68.

Mohn was taken into custody about 100 miles away from the crime scene on suspicion of first-degree murder, abuse of a corpse and possessing an instrument of crime with intent, according to a court docket released early Wednesday.

He was arraigned at 4 a.m. and denied bail, Middletown Township Police Capt. Pete Feeney said.

In the YouTube video, which was titled “Mohn’s Militia – Call To Arms For American Patriots” and is cited in a police complaint, Mohn is seen wearing gloves and holding his father’s head in a plastic bag. Later, the head can be seen in a cooking pot.

Mohn says his father was a federal employee for 20 years and refers to him as a traitor, calling for the death of all federal officials and attacking President Joe Biden’s administration, the Black Lives Matter movement, the LGBTQ community and antifa activists. YouTube removed the video, which is more than 14 minutes long, hours after it was posted.

Justin Mohn in a video posted on YouTube.YouTube

In a statement, a YouTube spokesperson said the video was taken down because of its “strict policies prohibiting graphic violence and violent extremism.”

“The video was removed for violating our graphic violence policy and Justin Mohn’s channel was terminated in line with our violent extremism policies. Our teams are closely tracking to remove any re-uploads of the video,” the statement said.

Prior federal lawsuits

Mohn has filed at least three lawsuits against federal agencies, including the U.S. government, claiming they negligently caused him to take out student loans between 2010 and his graduation from Pennsylvania State University in 2014, a court filing shows.

He paid a filing fee of $2,000 and, after his claims were dismissed, he sought to have the judge recused from the case because of what he claimed was a personal bias and a conflicting personal financial interest.

In a legal opinion on the case, the judge called the accusations “entirely speculative and without factual basis” and said Mohn’s complaints were the “inaccurate allegations of a disappointed college graduate.”

Mohn also sued his former employer, Progressive Insurance, in 2020, alleging wrongful termination and sex discrimination against men. He was hired as a customer service representative in October 2016 and was fired in August 2017 after he kicked open the facility’s doors, court records show.

A district court ruled that Mohn failed to establish a case of discrimination. 

When Mohn was filing his lawsuit, his parents were giving him about $540 a month, he indicated in the court filing. Shortly before Progressive fired him, he had taken a trip to Vegas to see if he could pursue a music career, according to the lawsuit. 

He represented himself in the lawsuits.

Mohn was highly active on social media, where he promoted his self-released music and books, including dystopian science fiction.

A nonfiction book released via Amazon in 2017, titled “The Revolution Leader’s Survival Guide,” contains the transcript of a letter to then-President Donald Trump warning of “a peaceful revolution helped led by the author if positive change does not come to America and the world soon.”

Gruesome scene

The suspect’s mother, Denice Mohn, found his father’s body and called police around 7 p.m. Tuesday.

When police arrived at the family home in Middletown Township, they found Michael Mohn in a downstairs bathroom, decapitated, with “a large amount of blood around him,” according to a police complaint. A machete and a large kitchen knife were found in the bathtub.

Police found Michael Mohn’s head inside a plastic bag in a cooking pot in a bedroom next to the bathroom, according to the complaint. They also found bloody, clear rubber gloves in another bedroom. In the YouTube video, the suspect is seen wearing similar gloves.

A police officer guards the entrance to a house after a man was found dead in Middletown, Pa., on Tuesday.via WCAU

Denice Mohn told police that she’d last been home at 2 p.m. and that her son was the only person there with his father. When she returned to the home that evening shortly before calling police, her son was missing along with a car registered to her husband that had been in the driveway, according to the complaint.

Police later stopped Mohn in Fort Indiantown Gap, about 100 miles away from the crime scene, driving the car that was missing from the family home. Fort Indiantown Gap, near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, has a National Guard training facility.

“We didn’t know where he was going and what his intentions were when he left here,” Feeney said. “Fortunately, we were able to get a location based on his cellphone.”

The phone pinged near the Indiantown Gap National Cemetery and again just outside the National Guard base, where police found the car outside, Angela Watson of Pennsylvania’s Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, which oversees the National Guard, said Wednesday.

Mohn had jumped over a fence and entered the base, she said.

The National Guard and the Pennsylvania State Police were both contacted to help find Mohn, and officers took him into custody “without incident” around 9:25 p.m., Watson said. She added that Mohn was “armed with a firearm.” No one was injured when he was on the base.

Middletown Township Detective Lt. Stephen Forman said police had had a couple of prior contacts with the suspect, some as far back as 10 years ago and some more recent.

There was no attorney listed for Mohn in court records.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Philadelphia District said it was “deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death of our teammate Michael Mohn,” who served with the geoenvironmental section.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Mohn family and we are focused on supporting our grieving employees at this time,” the district said in a statement.

Tom Winter

Tom Winter is a New York-based correspondent covering crime, courts, terrorism and financial fraud on the East Coast for the NBC News Investigative Unit.

Patrick Smith

Patrick Smith is a London-based editor and reporter for NBC News Digital.

Caroline Radnofsky

Caroline Radnofsky is a supervising reporter for NBC News’ Social Newsgathering team based in London.

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