US marshals arrest suspect in case of man found in freezer

Thomas Elliot Stafford
Thomas Elliot Stafford

Authorities arrested a fugitive wanted in the killing of a man whose body was found in a freezer at a Jackson County home the victim was renting.

Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell said U.S. marshals arrested Thomas Elliot Stafford, 40, outside a home in Portland, Oregon, about 11 a.m. Saturday.

He was wanted in the strangulation of Jerry Floyd Kirkendall, 65.

Jackson County deputies received a call early Monday about a body found stuffed in a chest freezer.

Kirkendall, who was new to Mississippi, had been living in a rental home with Stafford on Althea Street in Latimer’s Virginia City area.

Officials said Stafford also stole Kirkendall’s 2001 Cadillac Seville SLS and drove it to his cousin’s home about 20 miles north of Mobile.

Investigators found the car at the cousin’s home earlier this week, Ezell said Wednesday. The cousin told investigators Stafford had sold him the car for cash and a 9mm handgun.

The rental-home’s owner said he last saw Kirkendall on March 3, which is when investigators believe the man was killed, Ezell said.

Stafford is being held in the Multonomah County Detention Center.

He will face an extradition hearing in a Portland court Monday.

Justin Vicory: 228-896-2326, @justinvicory

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews