A South Carolina couple accused of breaking into and squatting in a $16-million-dollar NASCAR driver’s mansion has an interesting excuse: they are members of the “Moorish Nation,” which claims its members are the rightful owners of all property.
WBTV reports Darius Trrone Hall, 29, and Nataijah Shaieena Fields, 37, were arrested earlier this month after allegedly breaking into NASCAR driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s North Carolina home, according to WB-TV. The Mooresville home has five bedrooms, six bathrooms, and nearly 10,000 square feet. It is listed for $15,995,000.
According to Rowan County Sheriff Kevin Auten, after their arrest on August 19, Fields and Hall explained that they were members of the Moorish Nation and admitted to breaking into the house off Highway 152. Fields were charged with breaking and entering, assisting minors in delinquency, and second-degree trespassing. Hall is facing similar charges, as well as another for allegedly carrying a concealed weapon. Both have been released under the terms of a secure bond.
“My home was broken into and illegally occupied,” Stenhouse Jr. said in a statement to The Daily Beast. “I thank the Rowan County, North Carolina Sheriff’s Department for their prompt arrest of the suspects. I will have no further comment pending the outcome of any court proceedings against these individuals. Any claims by these individuals to a right in my property are without any basis in law or fact.”
The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office did not respond immediately to The Daily Beast’s request for comment. Fields, on the other hand, insisted to The Daily Beast on Saturday via Facebook that the reports of her arrest were “falsified information and character deformation that will be legally and lawful [sic] addressed.”
“Once legal/lawful vindication is achieved I will make sure that news station either redacts or corrects this story,” she added via Facebook message.
Photographs of paperwork showing her affiliation with the Morocco Empire State and the Moorish National Republic can be found on the 37-year-old’s Facebook page. Another Facebook account that appears to be Hall’s displays similar Moorish National Republic documentation. Hall could not be reached for comment, and it is not clear whether he has hired an attorney.
The Moorish National Republic is one of several independent organizations in the Moorish sovereign citizen movement, which believes that individuals have sovereignty over the federal and state governments. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, that sovereignty means members believe they are immune from the legal system and thus do not have to pay taxes or go through the process of owning property. The Moorish National Republic, which claims to be its own government, did not respond to a request for comment.
This is not the first time the North Carolina area has had to deal with Moorish Nation members. In 2019, a Davidson couple was arrested for squatting in a five-bedroom estate owned by the mayor’s family. WB-TV reported that the couple, 30-year-old Turmaine Thorne and 35-year-old Taqiyah Barber, reportedly arrived with a U-Haul loaded with their belongings and later told police they had a right to the property because of their religious beliefs.