When William Steven Knight drove long-time friend Mason Trever Toney to their construction work site near Orlando Monday morning, he was aware the man he’d known since elementary school disagreed with him on politics. Knight was a supporter of President Trump. Toney is not. Shortly after arriving at work, Tone stabbed Knight to death with a trowel in front of multiple witnesses.
A short manhunt followed and Toney has been taken into custody.
UPDATE: Mason Toney has been captured by OCSO and taken into custody without incident. https://t.co/OHuT7gTvUl
— Orange County Sheriff's Office (@OrangeCoSheriff) January 20, 2020
Local reports indicate Knight was Toney’s boss. The two 28-year-old men often traveled together to work. According to the affidavit, witnesses told investigators that Knight was a “proud and outspoken American and is pro-Donald Trump. They stated that the suspect is anti-government and very outspoken about his beliefs that the government is bad and out to get him.”
MAGA friends this just got personal for me! The man killed below is the grandson of my cousin. Killed over politics! This is absolutely insane! We MUST take our country back! #justiceInAmerca #StopTheInsaneLeft https://t.co/s0jkLrW5EH
— marlo45 🇺🇸 (@marlo451) January 22, 2020
A brand new American flag with the wrapping nearby was placed at the side of the victim’s body. Toney came to work with a backpack that day, something coworkers said was unusual. These pieces of evidence will be used by prosecution to demonstrate the murder was premeditated and, based on the political argument they had earlier in the morning, was predicated on Toney’s anti-government and anti-Trump beliefs.
But according to The Blaze, Knight’s mother is skeptical about the motivation behind her son’s murder.
“I don’t know, I don’t know what, I can’t explain what happened to my son,” said Julia Knight, the victim’s mother. “I don’t understand. I never thought Mason would do this to my son. But it wasn’t about politics, I can tell you right now.
“There’s something wrong with Mason,” she said later in the interview.
The family has set up a GoFundMe account to help with the funeral expenses.
Opinion: The anti-Trump triggers
Ever since President Trump was elected, many of those who oppose him have been lashing out. We witnessed it during his inauguration as wild protests have been blamed for higher levels of violence and destruction than anything we’ve seen during political protests in decades.
The rise of Antifa and other violent “activists” is not a new phenomenon, but there has been a clear escalation the likes of which this generation hasn’t seen. They’re reminiscent of the protests that consumed America during the Vietnam War era, though somehow the same levels of damage are being done despite a smaller number of people participating.
The story of Mason Trever Toney is just the latest example of this rise in hatred turning violent, especially when the person being “triggered” clearly suffers from mental illness. This was no random killing. As the victim’s father noted, “He was a friend of the family. My son went to elementary school with him and to middle school and high school.”
Tensions will remain high in America until the election, at which point they may go even higher. We must all try to find calm discourse even as emotions escalate. Mental illness and political battles do not mix well. Pray for our nation to heal.