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Fugitive in Mississippi killing arrested in Portland

Roommate strangled; body found in freezer

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - A Mississippi man wanted in the strangulation death of his roommate has been arrested in Portland.

U.S. Marshals and Portland police took 40-year-old Thomas Elliot Stafford into custody near downtown. He was booked into jail shortly before noon Saturday and is awaiting extradition.

Investigators in Jackson County, Mississippi, believe Stafford killed 65-year-old Jerry Floyd Kirkendall sometime around March 3, when a landlord last saw Kirkendall.

Alerted by the smell, the landlord found Kirkendall's body in an unplugged freezer on March 20. Sheriff Mike Ezell said Stafford also stole the victim's Cadillac.

Investigators found the Cadillac at the home of Stafford's cousin in Alabama. The sheriff said the cousin told investigators he gave Stafford money and a gun in exchange for the car.

Oregon court records show Stafford was in Portland last year. He pleaded no contest to methamphetamine possession and was sentenced to probation.


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