Tabitha Gentry, the woman at the center of the East Memphis squatting incident, made her first court appearance by video conference Monday morning, facing two felony counts for burglary and theft and a misdemeanor trespassing charge.
"I represent myself. I'm Moorish American," she said.
Gentry spoke over the judge, claiming she's a Sovereign Citizen and a member of the Moorish National Movement. She believes the law doesn't apply to her and the criminal court has no jurisdiction.
Gentry's outbursts didn't faze Judge Louis Montesi. The video arraignment was over in about a minute.
Shelby County Sheriff deputies arrested Gentry Friday morning as she left the multi-million dollar mansion she'd been squatting in for at least a week. A sheriff's SWAT team cleared the home, but they didn't find anyone inside.
She moved into the bank-owned estate with her children. The gate was chained shut and no trespassing signs plastered the driveway.
Gentry even filed bogus paperwork with the County claiming the deed to the land. Her supporters don't think the 32-year-old did anything wrong.
"This is a corporation. This matter has to be handled in the civil court not general sessions," said Gentry's friend Jarrod Betts. "She's Moorish American. Why ya'll say she's a squatter? She's Moorish American and that's all I'm going to say! Why ya'll want to reset her court date? Why ya'll want to reset her court date and all that? She's Moorish American and she will be out of jail."
But, Gentry isn't expected to leave jail anytime soon. She's on a $2 million bond, meaning she would have to pay $200,000 to get out on bail. She's scheduled to be back in court on March 26.
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
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