An online extremist stunned the nation with an unimaginably disturbing YouTube video in which he called to overthrow the federal government – and held up the decapitated head of his father, according to Pennsylvania authorities.
He is facing charges of first-degree murder, abuse of a corpse and possessing an instrument of crime with intent, according to a court filing.
Soon after his arrest, Mr Mohn was linked to a YouTube video in which he was allegedly seen railing against the federal government and calling for “violence” to combat its “treason”. In the bone-chilling footage, he reportedly held up his father’s head in a plastic bag as he condemned his “20 years” working as a federal official.
The suspect’s father was a geoenvironmental with the US Army Corps of Engineers. After the gruesome attack, Mr Mohn trespassed at a military facility in an attempt to “mobilise the National Guard” to raise arms, Bucks County District Attorney Jennifer Schorn said.
Mr Mohn was still carrying the handgun he used to kill his father when he was arrested by US Marshals.
Here’s what we know so far about the heinous case:
A disturbing discovery
Police said they responded to the scene of the home on 30 January after receiving a “call of a deceased male”.
Authorities said that Mohn’s wife Denice Mohn was last in the house at 2pm and when she returned at around 7pm, she noticed her son and her husband's 2009 Toyota Corolla were nowhere to be found.
She found her husband’s decapitated body inside.
Mr Mohn had already left the scene, driving off in his dad’s car.
When officers arrived on the scene, they found Mohn’s corpse in the first-floor bathroom, the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office said. He was found with a “large amount of blood around him”, the DA’s office said. Authorities also discovered a machete and a kitchen knife in the bathtub.
“Officers also located the deceased male’s head inside of a plastic bag, which was inside of a cooking pot in a first-floor bedroom next to the bathroom,” police said. Officers also found “bloody rubber gloves” in both a separate first-floor bedroom and in a trash can beside a desk.
Mr Mohn was found “hours later” in Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania – more than 100 miles from his home – and taken into custody, the DA’s office said.
Mr Mohn was arrested at Fort Indiantown Gap, a military base about 100 miles away from the crime scene, officials with the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office and the FBI revealed on Friday.
According to DA Jennifer Schorn, Mr Mohn had driven to the facility in an attempt to mobilise the National Guard to raise arms and overthrow the federal government. He also wanted to speak with Governor John Shapiro to convince him “to join forces,” Ms Schorn said.
Mr Mohn allegedly drove his father’s car past a barricade, jumped a fence to gain access inside the base and was carrying a loaded 9mm weapon before he was captured.
The gun was legally purchased the day before Mr Mohn allegedly killed his father, Ms Schorn said, and he had voluntarily surrendered his medical marijuana card mere days before in order to become eligible. Ms Schorn said that the level of Mr Mohn’s planning showed that he was “in a clear state of mind” and “proud of his actions” after allegedly carrying out the attack.
“There was nothing legally precluding him from purchasing that gun,” Ms Schorn said, pushing back against suggestions that Mr Mohn’s actions may have been the result of a mental health crisis. “It also shows the clear state of mind he was in, having planned what he ultimately carried out.”
Ms Schorn also noted that the suspect had no known history of mental illness or involuntary hospitalisations. However, officials declined to answer questions about calls made by neighbours regarding their concern for Mr Mohn’s behaviour.
It has also emerged that Mr Mohn’s former employer had tried to flag his erratic behaviour to local police last year. Middletown Township Police Chief Joe Bartorilla said his department could not proceed with an investigation because the employer was “seeking legal advice” on how to terminate Mr Mohn.
The YouTube video
After the attack, Mr Mohn allegedly severed his father’s head and then displayed it in a disturbing 14-minute YouTube video in which he also launched violent calls for FBI, Border Patrol, and US Marshals employees to be “tortured for information” and “publicly executed”.
Mr Mohn called his father, a 20-year veteran engineer with the US Army Corps of Engineers Philadelphia District, a “traitor” who “is going to hell” for betraying his country, according to Ms Schorn’s description of the graphic video that remained online for six hours after the murder. He also leaked personal information about a local judge, whose name was not released by authorities during the press conference and put a bounty on the judge’s head.
The video, titled “Mohn’s Militia, a call of arms for American Patriots,” had more than 5,000 views before it was taken down.
“He demands violence against all federal employees but exempts state governors and state employees,” Ms Schorn said. “... From an evidentiary value, this video is very important, but it’s quite horrifying how many views it had before we understand it was taken down.”
He also bashed President Joe Biden, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the LGBTQ+ community.
“The federal government of America has declared war on America’s citizens and the American states. America is rotting from the inside out as far-left woke mobs rampage our once prosperous cities turning them into lawless zones,” he was quoted as saying by LevittownNow.com.
“Taxpayer dollars are printed and used for anything but the taxpayers with little to no accountability, which has inflated the economy to near destruction and has made it so most Americans can no longer afford the American Dream. Meanwhile, a fifth column army of illegal immigrants infiltrates our border.”
“Violence is the only solution to the federal government’s treason.”
In the video, Mohn was captured wearing gloves while holding his father’s head in a plastic bag. Later in the footage, the head was in a cooking pot, reports said.
A YouTube spokesperson said that Mohn’s video was removed because it violated “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”.
Justin Mohn ‘had been ranting about the government for a decade’
Mr Mohn lived with his parents, Michael and 63-year-old Denice, in Middletown Township’s Levittown area. Public records show he has two siblings.
He graduated in 2014 from Pennsylvania State University with a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness management, one court filing states. After graduating, he moved to Colorado in 2015 to work at a credit union. The following year, he began working at Progressive Insurance.
Michael Prickett, a childhood friend of Mr Mohn, told NBC that Mr Mohn was openly critical of the government and had “gone off the rails” after going to college.
“He’s been ranting and railing about the government for 10 years now and how they’re out to get him and how he should be president — all the crazy stuff that was said on the video last night,” Mr Pricket said. “He’s been essentially doing that for 10 years now.”
A former roommate of Mr Mohn, Davis Rebhan, also told NBC that Mr Mohn had a reputation for “telling tall tales” and was very open about conspiracy theories he believed in. On one occasion, Mr Mohn gave Mr Rebhan a book he had authored about “a high schooler who turns into a rap star who leads a revolution against the United States government.”
“He broke a big, old mirror that was in our kitchen that had been put up by the apartment, and there were holes in the walls,” Mr Rebha, who lived with Mr Mohn in Colorado Springs in 2016, said. “He basically told me he blacked out and had an incident.”
Mr said he watched the disturbing video Mr Mohn reportedly posted on YouTube.
“I watched the whole video with my mouth wide open. I came to tears over it,” he told NBC. “The kid I remember as a kid was not the kid I saw in the video last night.”
Monh’s extremism emerged in self-published book
According to ABC News, Mr Mohn published a “pamphlet” in 2021 in which he argued that people born on his birth year and onwards had the responsibility to start a “bloody revolution,” also encouraging the killing of relatives and government officials.
In 2017, he self-published a book titled The Revolution Leader’s Survival Guide.
The book has since been removed from Mr Mohn’s Amazon storefront, but according to internet archives retrieved by The Independent, Mr Mohn wrote in a summary that he aimed to explain “how and why to reform the education, political, and social systems in America.” Mr Mohn also discussed “a second Dark Age of global wars and depopulation.”
“Justin Mohn is an author of 7 books and musician of 3 albums and one single,” his Amazon bio read. “His life story is unbelievable and there may not be enough words to describe him, but one may begin to understand his complexity and experiences through his art. He only wishes to bring positive change to the world.”
Mr Mohn has proved to be quite litigious in the past, records show.
In 2019, he sued the insurance company, claiming that he was wrongfully terminated in 2017 due to “sex discrimination”. The court denied his claims.
Mohn has filed numerous lawsuits against the US government since 2022.
He sued the Department of Education and education secretary Miguel Cardona in March 2022 over student loan payments. The complaint says he took college courses in 2010 at Penn State University.
That case was dismissed but he sued the two defendants again in August of that year, alleging they had “ample knowledge and data” that he would “be unable to pay” back the federal student loan, yet gave him the loan anyway and therefore they acted in “acted in bad faith and or dishonesty”. He described himself in the suit as an “overeducated white male” who may have suffered from “affirmative action against him”.
Mohn even referred to his Progressive case in this lawsuit, writing, “The outcome of Mohn v Progressive Insurance can only be interpreted that the federal courts… believe that women and minorities cannot compete with overeducated, outperforming white men in the workplace, and so affirmative action must be applied to white men.”
Mohn also sued Attorney General Merrick Garland and his office in July 2023 regarding the student loan payments, requesting the defendant pay him $10m in damages.
He appeared to have an affinity for music. Mohn’s Spotify page features songs he has made, including “Cold War Waste Town”, “Judge Kathy Toilet” and “They Came for Justin Mohn”. His Spotify profile says he boasts four albums and wrote six books. The platform says he has five monthly listeners.
“His life story is unbelievable and there may not be enough words to describe him, but one may begin to understand his complexity and experiences through his art,” his Spotify bio states. “He only wishes to bring positive change to the world.”
Who was Michael Mohn?
The 68-year-old man, an engineer for the US Army Corps of Engineers Philadelphia District, owned a house with his wife in Levittown.
He was a registered Democrat, records show.
“We are deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death of our teammate Michael Mohn,” the district said in a statement to NBC. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Mohn family and we are focused on supporting our grieving employees at this time.”
Michael Mohn’s mother and Justin Mohn’s grandmother, Gertrude Keyes, was a secretary in the US War Department during the Second World War, according to an obituary for her husband, Stanley Mohn.