[The video above is from KOLR10’s Today’s Headlines]

UPDATE 3/21/23 — Ellis pleaded not guilty to her charges on March 20. She has a case review scheduled for 9 a.m. on April 10.

UPDATE 3/20/23 — More details have been released about the homicide of a 62-year-old Camden County man in February.

According to court documents, 39-year-old Chrisma Doxa Ellis is a homeless person who had a relationship with the victim, Thomas Gifford, before his death. She is being charged with first-degree murder, first-degree tampering with a motor vehicle and armed criminal action — all felonies.

At 3:12 p.m. on Feb. 16, Camden County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a report about a dead person on the living room floor of a home he lived alone in. It was found that a 2000 Chevrolet Blazer was missing from the home.

An autopsy of the body resulted in the death being considered a homicide due to evidence of blunt- and sharp-force trauma to the torso and head. Someone who knew the victim told law enforcement that Ellis used to stay on the property in a truck bed camper in the backyard until she was no longer allowed to.

The police report states that Ellis was a known transient who did not own a vehicle and was commonly seen walking around Camdenton. Employees of a business across the street said they say her driving a 2000 Chevrolet Blazer. A video showed the Blazer leaving on Feb. 10 — six days before the body was found — and not return.

On the day law enforcement found the body, they also found shoes similar to a pair Ellis was wearing the last time deputies contacted her, laying outside of a truck bed camper.

On Feb. 17, Ellis used her EBT card to purchase items from a Dollar General Store in Kansas City. On Feb. 23, she was located in a Kansas City homeless camp thanks to information from an acquaintance. The acquaintance also told detectives that Ellis said she had been at her boyfriend’s house and a fight occurred in which she stabbed her boyfriend several times. Ellis believed that boyfriend was dead and was waiting for the police.

On March 6, Ellis was in Camden County court to address the vehicle tampering charge. She became agitated with the court and audience and told deputies:

“I had to kill him. It was self-defense. I took his vehicle. I had no choice.”

-Chrisma Ellis

Her next court appearance was scheduled for 9:15 a.m. today, March 20. This article will be updated as her case continues.

Original article, published March 3, 2023:

CAMDEN COUNTY, Mo. – An arrest has been made in the homicide of 62-year-old Thomas Gifford.

Gifford was found dead in his home on February 17 and his death was ruled a homicide.

Detectives identified 39-year-old Chrisma D Ellis as a person of interest in the case and traveled to Kansas City to take her into custody.

Ellis was held on auto theft charges while detectives investigated the homicide.

After further investigation, Ellis was charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action, and tampering with a motor vehicle, all felonies.

She is being held without bond at the Camden County Adult Detention Facility.