Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said detectives have arrested two men and a woman responsible for the fatal shootings of three friends found dead while headed to a fishing trip near Frostproof on Friday night.
At a news conference Wednesday, Judd identified the suspects as Tony ”T.J.” Wiggins, 26, his girlfriend Mary Whittemore, 27, and Wiggins’ brother Robert Wiggins, 21.
Among the leads that drew detectives to the suspects were tips to the Crime Stoppers line.
“Look at T.J. Wiggins from Frostproof,” Judd quoted some of the callers saying. “Not because they had any idea he did it, just because he’s mean.”
Tony Wiggins was first arrested at age 12 and has a history of 230 felony charges and 15 convictions, Judd said.
“He’s wild and he’s out of control.”
Video recording shows that the fatal encounter apparently began when the victims and suspects ran into each other earlier at a nearby Dollar General Store, Judd said. The motive wasn’t immediately clear, but in describing the shooting scene, the sheriff said T.J. Wiggins screamed at one of the victims, “You stole the engine out of my truck.”
All the suspects and victims are from the Lake Wales and Frostproof area.
The victims were beaten and shot to death as they were heading to Lake Streety near Frostproof to go fishing, Judd said. They are Damion Tillman, 23, Keven Springfield, 30, and Brandon Rollins, 27.
“It’s way out in the country, a little clay road,” Judd said. “It’s used as ingress and egress for cow pastures, orange groves and Lake Streety. It’s a road to no place, three miles long.”
When deputies arrived on the scene, they found the two vehicles that carried the three men parked in the middle of road, Tillman’s facing south and the other vehicle facing north.
Judd said they may have pulled up to speak to one another before they were killed or the second vehicle may have pulled up to Tillman’s vehicle to find he had been slain.
Rollins survived long enough to call his father by cell phone but only managed to say, “Help,” Judd said.
“Dad knew where they were and raced out to find (the) best buddies shot dead and his son taking his last breath,” Judd said Monday.
Source: Tampa Bay Times