A 32-year-old man in Pennsylvania is being accused of murdering his father and showing his decapitated head in a YouTube video earlier this month. The suspect, identified by police as Justin Mohn, is said to have posted a 14-minute video on YouTube speaking about the murder, holding up what appears to be a severed head and going on conspiracy theory and anti-government rant. ISD’s Director of Threat Analysis and Prevention, Katherine Keneally, spoke to WIRED about the incident and how it illustrates the severity of the threat posed by these ideologies.
“Some have been quick to write Mohn off as mentally unwell and while this may be accurate, this incident illustrates the threat of anti-government extremism and conspiracy theories, which have become all too common since the 2020 election,” Katherine said. “He was so steeped in anti-government beliefs that he not only viewed his father as a ‘traitor’ because of his purported job, but selected him as a target because of it.”
Katherine also touched on reactions across the far-right online landscape following this incident. “False flag and ‘psyop’ conspiracy theories have rapidly spread online since the incident,” she said. “These narratives detract from the severity of the incident and attempt to minimize the threat posed by anti-government ideologies.”
A Dispatch about this case, authored by Katherine Keneally, is available on our website.