Man accused in body in freezer case is in custody in Jackson County

Thomas Stafford
Thomas Stafford

Almost one month after the body of 65-year-old Jerry Floyd Kirkendall was found in a freezer in a Latimer home, Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell said the man accused in the killing of Kirkendall has been extradited to Jackson County.

Thomas Elliot Stafford, 40, is being held at the Jackson County Jail after he was arrested in Portland on March 25.

Stafford was arrested on a charge of capital murder. Ezell said Kirkendall was strangled and his body was put in the freezer at the home he was renting in Latimer. Kirkendall had not been seen for almost two weeks when his body was found in the unplugged freezer.

Kirkendall was not from Mississippi, Ezell 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.

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.

Sun Herald staff writer Anita Lee contributed to this report.