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Thomas Schifferns

Thomas Schifferns appears in District Court in Red Lodge on Wednesday, February 28, 2018 to be arraigned on a charge of deliberate homicide in the death of James McGregor.

CASEY PAGE, Gazette Staff

The Red Lodge man accused of fatally shooting a homeless man who’d been living with him appeared in court Wednesday and denied charges.

Thomas Joseph Schifferns, 33, pleaded not guilty to deliberate homicide in Carbon County District Court on Wednesday. Judge Blair Jones maintained bond at $1 million. 

Schifferns shot and killed James McGregor, 63, near Highway 212 south of Red Lodge on Feb. 19, according to charges. McGregor’s body was found in a creek-side depression 100 yards from McGregor’s truck, which was stuck in the snow.

James Edward McGregor

James Edward McGregor

In court Wednesday, Carbon County Attorney Alex Nixon called the killing a “cold-blooded execution,” and said Schifferns had been taking advantage of McGregor financially for an extended period of time. 

Nixon said it was possible he'd file an additional charge of conspiracy in the case. 

McGregor had been staying with Schifferns and his common-law spouse, who reported McGregor’s disappearance to law enforcement and said a safe where McGregor stored cash had been left open and empty.

After Schifferns killed McGregor, charges allege, he sought help from his ex-girlfriend to escape to Texas or Mexico.


Mourners leave flowers and notes outside an outbuilding James McGregor was known to stay in on the corner of Haggin Avenue North and Second Street East in Red Lodge on Sunday.

Schifferns told his ex-girlfriend Feb. 19 that he shot a person in the head and that he was angry with the person he killed "because he was homeless and disrespectful," the charges state.

Schifferns is being held in at the Gallatin County Detention Facility. A trial date has not yet been set. 

Photographer Casey Page contributed reporting. 


Justice Reporter

Justice reporter for the Billings Gazette.