Published 12:00 am Monday, September 26, 2005
By JULIE FINLEY
The Natchez Democrat
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NATCHEZ &045; A capital murder suspect who escaped from a Marion County jail earlier this month was in Natchez Sunday night, and may still be, authorities said.
Steven Kirkley was being held in the jail in connection with the October 2004 death of Columbia Realtor Janell Hatton. Kirkley allegedly broke in to steal a water jug of change.
He shot Hatton, put her in a vehicle and drove to a rural area where he suffocated her and buried her in a shallow grave, reports say.
He has not yet gone to trial for the murder.
Police Chief Mike Mullins said Natchez Police have evidence that Kirkley was involved in the burglary of a business on Liberty Road sometime after 10 p.m. Sunday. There weren’t signs of forced entry and only some change was missing.
&uot;We don’t know if he’s still in this area,&uot; he said. &uot;But we are assuming that he is and searching the area.&uot;
Kirkley escaped from the Marion County jail on Sept. 5. His body is heavily tattooed and he has three teardrops tattooed under his right eye.
He also has cut off all his hair.
He is 27 years old, 5 feet 6 inches tall and 145 pounds.
Mullins said Kirkley is considered dangerous, but did not know if he was armed.
&uot;We don’t have any information that he has a weapon and we don’t know if he has a vehicle.&uot;
He may possibly be camping near water in a tent.
Kirkley has been featured on &uot;America’s Most Wanted.&uot; His profile can be viewed on the site at www.americasmostwanted.com, search under fugitives.
The Web site says he escaped from the Marion County jail by crawling through air vents.
Mullins urged anyone with any information or anyone who thinks they have spotted Kirkley to call NPD at 601-445-5565 or Crime Stoppers at 601-442-5000.