Crime

Roommate kills and stuffs 65-year-old man into freezer, sheriff says

Jackson County sheriff's investigators were called Monday morning to the Virginia City community of Latimer after someone found a body in a freezer inside a house there.
Jackson County sheriff's investigators were called Monday morning to the Virginia City community of Latimer after someone found a body in a freezer inside a house there. calee@sunherald.com

The man killed and stuffed into a home freezer in Latimer has been identified as 65-year-old Jerry Floyd Kirkendall, Sheriff Mike Ezell said Tuesday afternoon.

Authorities have issued a capital murder warrant for the arrest of Kirkendall’s roommate, 40-year-old Thomas Elliot Stafford. The U.S. Marshals Service is helping the sheriff’s department search for Stafford, who authorities believe has left the area in Kirkendall’s 2001 gold Cadillac Seville SLS. The car has an Indiana license plate with the number 859RAT.

Ezell said he did not know where Stafford might be headed.

The cause of Kirkendall’s death has not been determined. Jackson County Coroner Vicki Broadus told the Sun Herald on Tuesday afternoon an autopsy is pending in Jackson.

Kirkendall is not from Mississippi, the sheriff said, but had lived in the Virginia City community with Stafford for a short period. Neighbors said Kirkendall had been living in the rental house for about a month and they had seen Stafford driving the older man’s Cadillac.

They said they had not seen Kirkendall for about two weeks. Sheriff’s investigators believe he died about March 3, when his landlord last saw him. The landlord found Kirkendall’s body Monday morning in the freezer, which had been unplugged.

Stafford’s capital murder charge is because of the theft of the car. Capital murder involves the commission of a second felony and is punishable by death.

Anita Lee: 228-896-2331, @calee99

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