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Trooper Jason Ginn talks to a handcuffed Joseph Bishop Goff following a traffic stop on I-20 Friday afternoon.(Jon Giffin The Vicksburg Post)

[8/28/04]An Alabama man wanted for slaying his girlfriend Friday morning in a hotel room in Lucedale was arrested later that afternoon near Bovina on Interstate 20 after a traffic stop.

Mississippi Highway Patrol Trooper Jason Ginn stopped the 2003 Ford Mustang, driven by Joseph Bishop Goff, 29, 6521 Oaklane Drive, Theodore, Ala., for not having a license plate at about 3 p.m.

After a couple of phone calls to George County authorities, Ginn learned Goff was a suspect in a slaying that had happened about six hours earlier.

At 8:45 a.m., authorities in George County were called to the Rocky Creek Inn on U.S. 98 in Lucedale, a South Mississippi town about six miles from the Alabama state line.

“Motel staff noticed that things were out of place,” George County Sheriff Garry Welford said in a phone interview from the scene. “We have a very brutal scene here at this time.”

Welford would not identify the victim except to say that authorities were certain she was Goff’s girlfriend and would not give further details.

“I was told it was a bloody, brutal scene, and the victim apparently killed his girlfriend in a motel room and then set the room on fire,” said Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace.

Goff was taken to the Warren County Jail where he was held until George County authorities arrived, about 8:30 Friday night.

Welford said authorities have not found a weapon and do not have a motive for the slaying.

“We won’t have one until we get him back here and have a chance to talk to him,” Welford said.

Goff’s arrest marks the second in Bovina where authorities have nabbed a murder suspect. Oklahoma native Brenda Dixon was arrested at a Bovina campground in March for killing a Florida man.

“This is just good police work on the part of the troopers,” Pace said. “Ginn was just real suspicious of the guy and documents indicated that he was from the George County area, so the trooper had the highway patrol office call George County and see if they had any crimes this guy was wanted for.”

Goff has a current license from Theodore, but he gave the Warren County deputies an Indiana address.