RED LODGE – The Red Lodge man accused of killing a homeless man for “being disrespectful” denied the allegations in court Wednesday where prosecutors described the murder as a “cold blooded execution.”
Thomas Schifferns pleaded not guilty in Carbon County District Court to one count of deliberate homicide.
Prosecutors said they expect additional charges to be filed against Schifferns for the murder of James McGregor last week.
The victim was living temporarily with his alleged killer at his home in Red Lodge.
McGregor was reported missing last week and his body was found days later in a ditch off Highway 212. McGregor had been shot in the head.
A friend of Schifferns alerted police that Schifferns told her he killed someone for being “homeless and disrespectful.”
But prosecutors believe the murder was part of a conspiracy to steal money from the victim.
Although McGregor was homeless, prosecutors say he kept a large amount of cash in a safe.
Schifferns’ friend also told authorities that Schifferns claimed he shot the victim as “he begged for his life,” according to court documents.
Prosecutors call the murder a “cold blooded execution.”
The judge honored a request from prosecutors not to allow Schifferns to communicate with his wife.
“We are concerned about the involvement of others in this conspiracy,” said Carbon County Attorney Alex Nixon.
Nixon also requested a high bond, arguing that Schifferns would have fled town if he hadn’t gotten the victim’s truck stuck in a snow bank.
The defense noted that Schifferns’ mental health may be at issue later on.
“He has depression and anxiety,” according to the defense.
Schifferns is being held on a $1 million dollar bond.
Reporting by Aja Goare for MTN News