Man accused of killing a man, stuffing his body in a freezer denied bond

Thomas Elliot Stafford
Thomas Elliot Stafford

A man accused of killing his roommate and stuffing his body in a freezer at their rental home was denied bond Monday in Jackson County court after hearing formal charges against him.

Judge T. Larry Wilson ordered Thomas Elliot Stafford, 40, held without bond on a charge of capital murder in the March strangulation death of 65-year-old Jerry Floyd Kirkendall Sr. in the Latimer community. Stafford, who is from Montgomery, Illinois, was in South Mississippi doing odd jobs.

Kirkendall, from Indiana, had rented the home on Althea Street and Stafford had moved in with him a short time later.

The man who owned the rental home discovered the remains on March 20 in an unplugged freezer in the home and alerted authorities.

Capital murder is a murder committed during the commission of another felony crime, in this case auto theft.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 12.


Marshals with the Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force arrested Stafford in Portland, Oregon. According to marshals, Stafford had gone by bus from Biloxi to Portland with cash he had received from a relative for the sale of Kirkendall’s car.

Stafford was on the run for a while before authorities received information about his possible whereabouts. Based on that information, marshals did surveillance at a downtown Portland home where Stafford’s known contacts lived.

Stafford was taken into custody there on a probation violation, with a hold placed on him so he would be transferred to Jackson County to face charges here. At the time of the Portland arrest, Stafford was on probation after receiving a 12-month sentence for meth possession in Portland.

Car for a gun

Authorities have recovered a gun they believe Stafford also received as payment from the sale of Kirkendall’s car. A woman called authorities to say Stafford had given her a gun when he stayed overnight at her home one day.

Authorities found Kirkendall’s stolen Cadillac at Stafford’s cousin’s home. The cousin told authorities he had given Stafford cash and the gun as payment for the car.

Margaret Baker: 228-896-0538, @Margar45