A Florida sheriff on Wednesday said he was praying that a man charged in three murders gets the death penalty.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd announced Wednesday that police had arrested Tony “TJ” Wiggins, 26, in connection with the deaths of three men who were slain at a Florida lake earlier this month, according to CBS News.
William Robert Wiggins, 21, the suspect’s brother, and Mary Whittemore, 27, the suspect’s girlfriend, were charged as accessories.
Damion Tillman, 23, Keven Springfield, 30, and Brandon Rollins, 27, were killed in what Judd has described as a massacre at a remote boat ramp near Frostproof, a small community in Polk County.
During a news conference, Judd spoke about the suspects, expressing particular disdain for TJ Wiggins.
“I’m sure somebody thinks he ought to have counseling and pretrial release. Our goal, and we pray, that the state attorney can seek the death penalty. He needs to receive a fair trial, the appropriate appeals, and then be executed,” Judd said.
“And you know what? Legally, we can’t execute him like he did those three guys who were just trying to fish on Friday night, nor would we suggest that the system be as barbaric as his conduct toward our three victims,” he said.
Judd said TJ Wiggins was a career law-breaker.
“TJ is someone who his criminal history should shock your conscience. It does mine,” he said.
“TJ started to be arrested when he was 12 years old. He is currently only 26 years old. TJ has 230 felony criminal charges in his arrest history. I didn’t stutter. He had 230 charges in his arrest history. Fifteen convictions and two times to state prison at only 26,” he said.
Judd spared no words in assessing Wiggins.
“He’s a thug. He’s a criminal. He’s pure evil in the flesh. He’s wild and he’s out of control.”
Wiggins was cited by people who knew him as a possible suspect, Judd said.
“He’s just violent. He’s currently out on bond for breaking a guy’s arm with a crowbar during a fight, waiting to go back to trial on other felony charges,” he said. “This is a guy who they said would just walk up and punch you for no reason, or no reason to you, certainly a good reason to him.
“You look at the Florida statutes as it appears with criminal conduct, he’s got some arrest history, everything from burglary and theft, to aggravated battery, to resisting law enforcement officers, to battery on law enforcement officers, to battery on people that are 65 years or older, the elderly.”
Sheriff Judd is updating the media on the arrests of these 3 suspects in the July 17th triple homicide in #Frostproof: 26 yo Tony “TJ” Wiggins; 27 yo Mary Whittemore; and 21 yo William “Robert” Wiggins. We are live on Facebook https://t.co/rKNE28jFQl. Release to follow pic.twitter.com/1XxFHe2kFQ
— Polk County Sheriff 🚔 (@PolkCoSheriff) July 22, 2020
After finding a Dollar General bag in the truck of the victims, police investigated and saw that the suspects and victims were in a nearby Dollar General store at the same time. There did not appear to be animosity displayed when the suspects and one of the victims spoke to each other, according to Judd.
The evidence began to pile up.
“The shell casing at the scene, the shell casing at TJ’s house, were all fired from a Smith and Wesson handgun and both the shell casing at home and at the scene were fired from the same weapon, the weapon that committed the massacre in the hands of TJ,” he said.
Judd said that based on what Robert Wiggins told them, the three friends were tracked to the lake, where an argument ensued over whether one of the victims sold the engine of a truck owned by TJ. The argument quickly escalated into gunfire.
When the shooting was over, “They immediately go to McDonald’s in Lake Wales and order 10 double cheeseburgers and two McChickens,” Judd said.
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