Two brothers and one of their girlfriends are accused of orchestrating the murder of three friends on a fishing trip in Central Florida.
In a news briefing on Wednesday, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd announced the arrest of Tony “TJ” Wiggins, Mary Whittemore and William Robert Wiggins on charges related to the triple murder.
Friends Brandon Rollins, 27, Keven Springfield, 30, and Damion Tillman, 23, were shot and killed Friday night near a lake in Frostproof.
Following reports of the triple homicide, Judd said the Polk County Sheriff’s Office was swamped with calls from across the country. Some in the Central Florida area suspected that TJ Wiggins, who deputies say has 230 felony charges and 15 convictions to his name, being involved.
“He’s pure evil in the flesh,” Judd said of the 26-year-old Wiggins.
According to Judd, TJ Wiggins and Springfield had a longstanding argument over a truck.
A Dollar General receipt found at the scene allowed detectives to make a timeline of events. By reviewing the store’s security footage, they discovered Tillman went there and told the cashier he was going to the lake with Springfield.
Investigators also noticed three other people inside the store: the Wiggins brothers and Whittemore, TJ’s girlfriend.
TJ, his 21-year-old brother William, and Whittemore, 27, then left the store and headed home. On the way, two trucks — holding Tillman, Springfield and Rollins — passed them. The suspects made a U-turn and followed them to the lake, leading to a confrontation that ended with TJ shooting the three men to death, according to authorities.
After, they went to McDonald’s for 10 cheeseburgers and two McChickens, the sheriff’s office said.
A search warranted executed Monday at TJ Wiggins’ and Whittemore’s trailer yielded two rifles, two shotguns and ammunition, deputies say. Investigators also found ammunition for a Smith & Wesson handgun that matched the shell casings found at the scene. TJ Wiggins was arrested on possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon charges, deputies said.
Detectives later interviewed all three people, during which their stories to be “inconsistent and contradictory,” according to the sheriff’s office.
TJ Wiggins received two additional charges of first-degree murder and tampering with evidence. Both William Wiggins and Whittemore were charged with being an accessory after the fact of a capital felony. The younger Wiggins also faces a tampering with evidence charge.
Sheriff Judd added that more charges may be coming.
All three are behind bars, but jail records don’t list them in the system. Their bond is unknown.
TJ Wiggins’ previous convictions include grand theft and burglary, according to the Florida Department of Corrections. His two most recent charges — aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon — stemmed from a March incident for which he recently posted bond, deputies say.
Court records show the younger Wiggins has an open misdemeanor case for operating a landfill without a permit and storing tires without a permit prohibited open burning. Whittemore has no criminal history, according to records.
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