Jackson County man sentenced to life for first-degree murder

State / Regional

JACKSON COUNTY, Miss. (WKRG) — Thomas Stafford, 44, pled guilty to the charge of first-degree murder of 65-year-old Jerry Floyd Kirkendall on Dec. 1, 2020.

The incident happened in March 2017 at the Latimer, Miss., home Kirkendall was renting. District Attorney Angel McIlrath said Stafford had only known the Kirkendall since February 2017. Stafford strangled the victim with a wire and left his body in a freezer in the home. After the killing, Stafford took and sold the victim’s vehicle and used the victim’s debit card to leave town. Law enforcement found Stafford in Portland, Ore.,

Judge Kathy King Jackson sentenced Stafford on the charge of First-Degree Murder to serve life in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, pay all court costs, and a $5,000 fine.

“The victim, Jerry Kirkendall, was a gentle soul who loved life and never met a stranger. Unfortunately, within a month of meeting the Defendant, the victim’s life was brutally taken. The Jackson County Sheriff’s Department did an outstanding job investigating this case. I am proud that, together, we were able to get justice for this family,” McIlrath said.

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