MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The east Memphis squatter acted up in court, even challenging the jurisdiction of the Judge. Tabitha Gentry, who also goes by Abka Re Bey, was arraigned Monday morning. She was arrested last week after Sheriff's Deputies say she illegally moved into a bank-owned $3 million east Memphis mansion.
Tabitha Gentry offered the first salvo in a brief war of words in a General Sessions Courtroom. What was supposed to be a video arraignment became a bizarre show of defiance by the woman claiming to be a sovereign citizen. She yelled to the Judge, "Sir! I'm a Moorish American Aboriginal…. I challenge the jurisdiction of the court today."
Gentry is charged with aggravated burglary, theft of property and criminal trespassing - charges she claims don't apply to her.
Outside the courtroom it was apparent she wasn't alone. Her friend Jarrod Batts slammed the legal system. "She ain't supposed to go through the system," he said, "She's Moorish American." When asked what that means, he responded, "That means that this is a corporation. This matter has to be handled in a civil court, not General Sessions."
When Batts was asked if he is a sovereign citizen, he got testy. "That's not what I'm saying. That's not what I'm saying," he began shouting, "While y'all saying she's squatter, she's Moorish American and that's all I'm going to say. While y'all want to reset her court date and all that stuff she's Moorish American and she will be out of jail. I'm gonna holla at y'all."
With her bond set at $2 million and facing charges that could land her behind bars for more than 30 years, the chances of Gentry getting out of jail anytime soon are slim.
The District Attorney General's office says a judge set the high bond based on the value of property in Gentry's theft charge, which is more than $60,000.
Gentry will be back in court March 26.