Home News Florida ‘sovereign citizen’ shot dead by fellow anti-government ideologue

Florida ‘sovereign citizen’ shot dead by fellow anti-government ideologue

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MARION OAKS — The Marion County Sheriff’s Office has released more details about the Sunday night shooting death here.

According to an arrest report by Detective John Lightle, deputies were called to 16062 SW 34th Court Road in reference to a shooting. When they got there, they found two people, one of them a juvenile, hiding in a back room.

The deputies saw 50-year-old Christopher Hallett laying on the kitchen floor with numerous gunshot wounds. It appeared that the victim had been shot from behind.

Deputies said Hallett lived at the residence. The relationship between Hallett, the woman and the juvenile is unknown. Sheriff’s Office officials declined to say why the woman and juvenile were at the residence. 

Information obtained by the deputies pointed to a woman later identified as Neely Raye Pesognellie Petrie-Blanchard, 33, of Pensacola as the shooter. They were told she had driven away.  

Further investigation by deputies indicate that Hallett was apparently trying to help Petrie-Blanchard with a child custody case.

She was later arrested in Lowndes County, Georgia, and awaits extradition back to  Marion County, where she will face a murder charge.

In late March, Petrie-Blanchard was accused of taking her twin 7-year-old girls out of Kentucky, according to local media reports. She was not the legal guardian of the children.

The Associated Press is reporting that both Petrie-Blanchard and Hallett are proponents of the “sovereign citizen” theory, which questions government authority over individuals. The arrest report states that Petrie-Blanchard may have been upset because she thinks Hallett was working against her or working to help the government keep her children away from her.

Neely Petrie-Blanchard (Source : Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office)

The woman at the Marion Oaks home said she had been there with Hallett, Petrie-Blanchard and her (the woman’s) daughter. She said she was in her room when she heard a loud noise and thought it was a firecracker. The woman said she heard another loud noise and believed it was a gunshot, according to the arrest report.

Coming out to the living room, the woman saw Hallett near the kitchen and his face looked grim. She said Petrie-Blanchard had a handgun and at one point, aimed the firearm at her and her daughter, the report said.

The woman said she grabbed her daughter and ran to the back of the house. She said she heard more shots and called 911.

The juvenile was interviewed by the detective. She said she was in her room when she heard a loud noise. The minor said she came outside and saw Hallett holding his shoulder. She said his eyes looked pained. The girl said she heard Petrie-Blanchard said “Oh (expletive), oh God, Please no.”

The girl said Petrie-Blanchard pointed the gun at Hallett, according to the report. She said Petrie-Blanchard turned toward her and her mother, and her mother grabbed her. She said her mother pulled her from the room.

The juvenile said she believed she heard the shooter say, “You’re hurting my children, you bastard,” and heard more shots, according to the report. 

A photo lineup was shown to both witnesses, and they both identified Petrie-Blanchard as the person who shot Hallett.

MCSO officials then issued a bulletin for Petrie-Blanchard’s arrest.

Lowndes County (Georgia) Sheriff’s Office Deputy Ryan Willis saw the message and called his brother, MCSO Deputy Robert Willis, for more information about Petrie-Blanchard’s vehicle.

Then, a short while later, Ryan Willis was at a gas station when he saw Petrie-Blanchard and arrested her.

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