Witness: Suspect bragged he only tortured, didn't kill victims

Timothy Safford (Photo source: Jackson Co. Sheriff's Dept.)
Timothy Safford (Photo source: Jackson Co. Sheriff's Dept.)
Timothy Safford was arrested at this home in Moss Point Friday morning.
Timothy Safford was arrested at this home in Moss Point Friday morning.

MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - A man accused of kidnapping, robbing and assaulting an elderly man in Delaware was tracked down and arrested Friday morning in Moss Point. It happened around 9 a.m. after police received a tip from a Moss Point resident that the suspect, Timothy Safford, was bragging about his crime.

"He said, 'You know my forte. I ain't going to kill you, I'm just going to torture you,'" a Moss Point resident said.

The resident said Safford was very open about the crimes he likes to commit.

"I heard several times, out in the field when he was drinking, he didn't kill his people, he liked to torture his people," a resident said. "He told me he was from the east coast and he had just got done eight years."

Safford, 38, is accused of taking part in a home invasion in Dover, Delaware. Another person, Shirley Smith, was arrested in the case on Thursday in Dover.

Investigators said Safford and Smith confronted an 82-year-old man when he came home. They pulled him from his car and tied him up in a bedroom. Police said they tied the victim's hands behind his back and bound his legs and feet together using wires and cords they found around the house.

The victim said he gave the pair his bank card and information, as well as the location of cash in his vehicle. Police said the suspects then cut the victim's ear, and threatened to cut it off completely if he did not cooperate further.

The victim was also stabbed numerous times in the back/torso area. It's believed that the suspects may have used the victim's kitchen knives in the assault/stabbing.

The victim was able to free himself after being tied up for nearly seven hours. He called 911, and was taken to the hospital. He's expected to fully recover from his injuries.

Safford's aunt, Helen Forrest, said he showed up at their family home on Jackson Street in Moss Point last week.

"We had no idea what was going on with him. We were excited to see him. He never told us he was in any kind of trouble," Forrest said.

It was not until police showed up Friday morning that Forrest knew anything was wrong.

"I was surprised, very surprised because they asked me who stayed here and I told them," Forrest said. "It just took me by surprise. The whole incident it just took me for a loss, but I cooperated because I knew if I hadn't, I'd be in trouble."

After learning what her nephew is accused of she said, " I think that is terrible, if he did that. I'm not sure that he did that because that doesn't sound like Timothy to me. If he did that, I can just send my apology to the family. But I don't know him like that."

Forrest said she had not seen Safford in about 15 years and that she remembered him as an outgoing, respectful person.

Moss Point Police credit their neighborhood watch program for the tip that led them to arrest Safford.

"We have been able to re-establish that throughout the community," Officer Darius Wilson said. "We are always telling people to be observant, they don't have to be the police, but they need to call police if they see something they don't recognize or see suspicious [activity] give us a call."

Investigators are still looking into how Timothy Safford ended up in Moss Point. The charges pending against him are: Kidnapping 1st Degree, Robbery 1st Degree, Assault 1st Degree, Possession of a Deadly Weapon During Commission of a Felony, Possession of a Deadly Weapon by Person Prohibited, Conspiracy 2nd Degree, Criminal Mischief Under $1,000, and Theft of a Motor Vehicle.

Dover Police Department said officers hope to have Safford extradited to Delaware in the next few weeks.

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