Masked Murder Manifesto

“What I was told is, her manifesto was a blueprint on total destruction, and it was so, so detailed at the level of what she had planned.” That was Nashville City Councilmember Courtney Johnston, in reference to Audrey Hale, a woman who thought she was a man.

On March 27, Hale walked into the Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, and murdered Evelyn Dieckhaus, 9, Mike Hill, 61, William Kinney, 9, Katherine Koonce, 60, Cynthia Peak, 61, and Hallie Scruggs, also 9 and the daughter of Chad Scruggs, senior pastor at the Covenant Presbyterian Church. Police shot Hale dead, but she left behind a “manifesto” that could explain her motive, the primary question in any murder case. From the start, it was kept under wraps and subject to speculation.

According to Johnston, “It’s really not even a manifesto, it’s diaries of a mentally ill person.” The councilwoman, a real-estate agent, did not explain how she was qualified to diagnose Hale, who carefully planned the attack for months. “Her mental illness is not something that should be used for entertainment,” Johnston added, “and I don’t understand these claims that law enforcement is hiding something.” 

A search of Hale’s residence turned up 20 journals, five laptops, two memoirs, five Covenant School yearbooks, seven cell phones and other materials. Johnston was on record that the FBI had ruled against releasing the manifesto in its entirety. So the FBI is indeed hiding what is most crucial to the case, evidence of motive.

According to Johnston, “that document in the wrong person’s hands would be astronomically dangerous.” So it was the “document” that was dangerous, and trans-friendly activists also sought to suppress its release. For example, Charles Moran, of the Log Cabin Republicans, advocates for equal rights for LGBTQ+ Americans, warned of “serious consequences” if the manifesto were to be made public. 

Johnston’s colleague, Nashville City Councilman Robert Swope, told the New York Post that the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit is working “in tandem” with the Metro Nashville Police Department to complete “a very in-depth analysis of certain aspects of the shooter’s life.” 

According to the councilman, “the manifesto is going to be released. It’s just a matter of when. There are some incredibly brilliant psychological minds and psychological analysts combing through her entire life.” 

Hale’s manifesto has yet to be revealed, but a key reality is perfectly clear. 

With all its money, resources, and those allegedly brilliant minds, the FBI did nothing to prevent domestic terrorist Audrey Hale from murdering six innocents, including three children. That failure is no surprise. 

In 2009, Major Nidal Hasan, a U.S. Army psychiatrist, was communicating with al-Qaeda terrorist Anwar al Awlaki about killing Americans. As the government report Lessons from Fort Hood explains, the FBI knew all about those communications, but someone in the FBI’s Washington, D.C., office judged that Hasan was not a threat and called off the surveillance. 

On November 5, 2009, at Fort Hood, Texas, Hasan murdered 13 unarmed American soldiers—14 counting the unborn child of Private Francheska Velez. In similar style, the FBI did nothing to prevent the terrorist attack in San Bernardino in 2015 that left 14 people dead, or Orlando in 2016, with 49 dead. 

Consider also the case of Bernie Sanders supporter James Hodgkinson, who was carefully tracking Republican members of Congress. 

On June 14, 2017, as the representatives practiced baseball at a field in Virginia, Hodgkinson opened fire on them with an SKS 7.62 rifle and a 9mm pistol, wounding five and nearly killing Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.). The FBI, then under Andrew McCabe, passed off Hodgkinson’s attack as a mere case of “suicide by cop,” a ludicrous claim that drew criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike. 

Hodgkinson shot first at unarmed civilians. Audrey Hale shot first at innocent children and the teachers and staff who sought to protect them. With Hale’s manifesto in the hands of the FBI, relatives of the victims might consider the FBI’s record of concealing evidence in murder cases. 

In February 2020, DHS whistleblower Philip Haney, author of See Something Say Nothing: A Homeland Security Officer Exposes the Government’s Submission to Jihad, was found dead in Amador County, California. The local sheriff handed Haney’s computer, thumb drives and other materials to the FBI. 

By 2023, the FBI had failed to make the material public, and announced no suspects. Consider also the case of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich, a possible leaker of Hillary Clinton’s emails. 

On July 17, 2016, Rich was gunned down on a Washington street. The FBI showed no interest in the basic questions of motive, means, and opportunity, but quickly grabbed Rich’s laptop computer. In 2020, the bureau admitted that it possessed the computer and with the murder still unsolved the FBI seeks to delay release of the computer’s contents until 2088, a proxy for never. 

In the run-up to the so-called Trans Day of Vengeance, Hale murdered six people, including three children. As their parents might note, open condemnations of this terrorist act are hard to find. 

Joe Biden failed to condemn the shooter, name any victims, or attend any funerals. Biden’s press secretary proclaimed “our hearts go out to the trans community as they are under attack right now.” 

The FBI failed to call the Nashville atrocity a hate crime and, at this writing, the bureau is keeping the murderer’s manifesto under wraps. If anyone called it a coverup it would be hard to blame them. 

Meanwhile, Nashville officials say autopsies should be ready in 12 weeks. Those documents will let the murder victims testify from the grave.

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About Lloyd Billingsley

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of Hollywood Party and other books including Bill of Writes and Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation. His journalism has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Spectator (London) and many other publications. Billingsley serves as a policy fellow with the Independent Institute.

Photo: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images