The suspect in the slaying of a man found killed and stuffed in a freezer is now considered armed and dangerous.
A family member of Thomas Elliot Stafford has told investigators he gave Stafford cash and a 9mm Taurus handgun when Stafford gave him the stolen car that belonged to slaying victim Jerry Floyd Kirkendall, Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell said Wednesday.
Kirkendall, 65, was found dead in a freezer this week. His car was located in Mt. Vernon, Alabama, where Stafford’s relative told police that Stafford had sold him the car, the sheriff said.
Kirkendall’s 2001 gold Cadillac Seville SLS was found at the relative’s home 20 miles north of Mobile.
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Stafford, wanted on a capital murder charge in Kirkendall’s killing, is still on the lam, with federal marshals helping in efforts to find him.
Kirkendall had been living in a rental home with Stafford, 40, on Althea Street in Latimer’s Virginia City area.
Kirkendall apparently had been dead more than two weeks when Jackson County deputies received a call at 6:30 a.m. Monday about a body found stuffed in a freezer, which was unplugged.
The property owner reported he last saw Kirkendall on March 3, which is when investigators believe he died, Ezell said.
Kirkendall was new to Mississippi and had lived in Jackson County a short while, Ezell said. His car has an Indiana license plate.
The underlying charge for capital murder is auto theft. Capital murder is a killing that occurs in the commission of another felony crime. The penalty is death or life without parole.
An autopsy is being performed at the Mississippi Forensics Laboratory near Jackson.
“It is ongoing and it all hinges on what the pathologist finds,” Jackson County Deputy Coroner Jason Moody said.
The results could be available later Wednesday, he said.
SunHerald.com will update this report as details develop.