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‘Evil in the flesh:' 2 men, 1 woman arrested after 3 friends slain on Florida fishing trip

Polk County sheriff says he wants accused killer to be executed

FROSTPROOF, Fla. – Three people have been arrested after three men were killed during a fishing trip in Frostproof.

According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Damion Tillman, 23, Brandon Rollins, 27, and Keven Springfield, 30, were all found dead in Frostproof, where the best friends had met to go on a fishing trip.

[BACKGROUND: 3 men beaten, killed during fishing trip in Frostproof, deputies say]

During a news conference Wednesday, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd shared that Tony “TJ” Wiggins, 26, William “Robert” Wiggins, 21, and Mary Whittemore, 27, were all arrested after investigators pieced together evidence from the killing that occurred Friday night.

Tony "TJ" Wiggins (Left) William "Robert" Wiggins (Center) Mary Whittemore (Right)
Tony "TJ" Wiggins (Left) William "Robert" Wiggins (Center) Mary Whittemore (Right)

During the investigation, detectives found a Dollar General bag and receipt from the night of the murders and then worked their way back from there.

When deputies went to the Dollar General, they found store video footage that showed Damion Tillman making some purchases.

The store clerk told detectives that Damion said he was going fishing. According to deputies, the clerk also saw the suspects in the store at the same time.

“The clerk told detectives that the suspects heard Damion say he was going fishing, and that Keven would be with him, as the clerk listened to all of them talk to each other about it,” investigators said.

Detectives received tips that one of the suspects might be Tony Wiggins, who was positively identified as a person seen in the video at the Dollar General.

The interaction between Tillman and Wiggins can be seen at 1:02 in the video below.

“Everybody knows that Tony Wiggins is the prime suspect for anything that goes wrong, and that’s easy to assume when at 26 years of age, he’s got 230 felony charges. And he’s been arrested consistently from the time he was 12 years old,” Judd said.

On Sunday, detectives served a search warrant at a parcel of land on Sarver Avenue in Lake Wales, where a travel trailer was parked.

“The travel trailer is occupied by 26-year-old Tony “TJ” Wiggins and his girlfriend, 27-year-old Mary Whittemore. Tony’s brother, 21-year-old William “Robert” Wiggins, lives in another trailer on the same plot,” investigators said.

Authorities said that during their search, detectives found two SKS rifles, two Mossberg shotguns and ammunition for both in a gun safe belonging to TJ Wiggins.

TJ, a convicted felon, was placed under arrest for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of ammunition by a convicted felon, a news release said.

The search also yielded ammunition that was then compared to the shell casings detectives found at the scene of the triple homicide and found the casings to be a positive match.

[RELATED: Mystery lingers after 3 beaten, killed during Florida fishing trip]

According to detectives, Whittemore purchased the ammunition for TJ in early July.

“Detectives interviewed all three suspects and their stories were inconsistent and contradicting each other,” officials said. “Whittemore admitted to purchasing the ammunition, and to being with the brothers on the night of the murder.”

Both of the Wiggins brothers were interviewed and officials said their statements were inconsistent.

During an additional interview, Robert admitted to seeing Damion in the Dollar General store on Friday evening while he stood in line behind Damion with his brother TJ.

“When they left the store, TJ directed Robert (who was driving) to turn onto a particular road, instead of going home,” deputies said. “Two trucks, occupied by the three victims, passed Robert on that road, at which time TJ told Robert to make a U-turn and follow the trucks.”

According to investigators, Robert followed the trucks to Lake Streety Road in Frostproof.

“Robert stayed in the truck with Whittemore, while TJ got out and confronted Keven Springfield, punching him and yelling at him, accusing Keven of stealing his truck,” officials said.

Frostproof Triple Homicide
Frostproof Triple Homicide

According to PCSO, Robert told detectives that he watched as TJ shot all three victims. After the shootings, TJ asked Robert to help him put Damion into the back of one of the trucks.

“After the brutal killings, the three suspects drove to McDonald’s, where they ordered 10 double cheeseburgers and two McChicken sandwiches,” Judd said. “On Saturday morning, Robert took his truck to a car wash in Lake Wales and washed the clay from it.”

According to officials, neither Tony Wiggins nor Whittemore are cooperating with detectives.

Both Robert Wiggins and Whittemore have been charged with tampering with evidence and accessory after the fact of a capital felony.

Judd said investigators may add additional charges as the investigation continues.

TJ Wiggins has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder, tampering with evidence, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of ammunition by a convicted felon.

“This is evil in the flesh,” Judd said. “This is a guy who can hurt you just because it’s the right thing for him to do at that moment in time with his three brain cells.”

Tj’s criminal history includes 230 felonies with 15 convictions, 26 misdemeanors and two trips to state prison.

“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.”

During the news conference, Sheriff Grady Judd said the families of the victims are poor and that donations to help them bury their loved ones would help a lot.

“We’ve had a lot of people offered to give us more money for a reward. We don’t need that,” Judd said. “But if there’s an inclination to help these folks bury their loved ones. I’m certain that would be appreciated because there’s nothing worse than having to bury your child. Unless it’s you’re having to bury your child and you don’t have any money.”

The sheriff’s office shared the following message on Twitter:

(Polk County Sheriff's Office)
(Polk County Sheriff's Office)

To donate on the Sheriff’s website, click or tap here

To re-watch the Sheriff’s news conference, click or tap below.


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