Capital murder suspect to return to Jackson County

Capital murder suspect to return to Jackson County
(Photo source: JCSD)

PORTLAND, OR (WLOX) - A man wanted for capital murder in Jackson County will not fight extradition to Mississippi. Sheriff Mike Ezell said Thomas Stafford waived extradition in a Portland, Ore. courtroom Monday morning.

On Thursday, officials announced that Stafford will be returned to Jackson County to face capital murder charges. Although he was in the Portland court on a drug probation violation, the judge did not issue additional jail or further charges.

According to Sheriff Mike Ezell, travel arrangements are being made but it is not not yet known exactly when Stafford will return.

"We're looking to get him back here as soon as possible," Sheriff Ezell said.

Stafford is accused of killing Jerry Kirkendall, Sr. and stuffing his body inside a freezer in a home in the Latimer community of Jackson County. Kirkendall's body was discovered March 20.

U.S. Marshals arrested Stafford in Oregon on Saturday.

Randy Brouillette, supervisor of the U.S. Marshal Service's Gulf Coast Regional Task Force, said Stafford took a Greyhound bus from Biloxi on March 6, one day after he reportedly sold Kirkendall's car to a family member in Alabama.

The cousin who bought the car told investigators he gave Stafford cash and a handgun for the Cadillac. Brouillette said Stafford paid cash for his bus ticket and arrived in Portland March 9.

"We contacted the marshal's office in Portland, and they developed information on possible associates of his. Marshals went out Saturday to one of the associate's residences and within an hour, saw him walking to a house. He was arrested without incident," Brouillette said.

Brouillette said Stafford stayed at a woman's house one night, then spent the rest of the time living in a tent in the woods down the street from her home.

"After the friend saw on the news that he was arrested in front of her house, she called Portland PD and told them he gave her a gun," Brouillette said.

The gun is believed to be the weapon Stafford received when he sold Kirkendall's car.

Stafford was sentenced to 12 months of probation in September after pleading no contest to a drug charge in Multnomah County, OR. An arrest warrant was issued for that charge Oct. 5. That prior drug conviction and subsequent probation violation in Portland is delaying his extradition.

"He's had some issues with the law out there, he's got a probation hearing on the 30th and after that we'll see how we can go about getting him back to Jackson County," Ezell said. "There's still a lot of unknowns we haven't spoken with him, don't know if he's gonna talk, so we'll just wait and see."

Sheriff Mike Ezell said they'll wait for authorities in Portland to handle things on their end so they can get the case presented to a grand jury here.

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