It is currently unclear if drugs or alcohol were a factor
Noodling for catfish can be scary and even dangerous. Noodlers have drowned after being unable to pull their hands loose from a large catfish's jaws. Noodlers also have to contend with snapping turtles, snakes, and other toothy critters. For these reasons, every noodler needs to bring along a buddy who can provide a helping hand should danger strike.
But sadly, for one Oklahoma man, his noodling partner was the cause of his demise.
According to kfor.com, a fight between the two men broke out during a noodling trip on Oklahoma’s South Canadian River and took a tragic and bizarre turn when one of the men killed the other and later claimed he did it because his friend was trying to feed him to a Sasquatch.
Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations (OSBI) agents said Larry Sanders and Jimmy Knighten headed to the river to catch catfish with their hands when things went south.
“[Sanders] believed that Mr. Knighten had basically tricked him into being out there,” Capt. Beth Green, with the OSBI, said of Sanders.
According to court records, “Larry claimed Jimmy was trying to feed Larry to bigfoot, so Larry had to kill Jimmy.” Records state the two men “fought on the ground for roughly an hour.”
Green said, “[Sanders] reported striking him and strangling him.”
After killing Knighten, Sanders drove back to Knighten’s home, where Knighten and his son lived.
Stacey Kelley, the victim’s ex-wife and friend, said, “[Sanders] had come back in Jimmy’s pickup and Jimmy wasn’t with him. [My son] was asking where his dad was and [Sanders] said, ‘Your dad’s not coming back.’”
To make matters even more complicated and devastating, Knighten and Kelley’s son is dating Sanders’ daughter, who, according to state records, lives with the father and son.
“I am heartbroken for [Sanders’] family and especially his kids,” said Kelley. “Not only are they tied to Jimmy, but now they have to live with the fact that their dad is the one that did this.”
Sanders is being held at the Pontotoc County Detention Center, facing a first-degree murder complaint. So far, it’s unclear if drugs or alcohol played a role.
“Jimmy had the biggest heart of anybody,” said Kelley. “He is still a person, and he has a family, and they have feelings. It’s not just a news story and it’s not a Facebook joke. And he’s not any of these things. He is so much deeper than that.”
Stephanie Mallory is a mom, a hunter and Realtree’s PR Coordinator. She’s here to deliver an insider’s look at the outdoor business and give her opinion on all things outdoors—whether you asked for it or not.