Suspect in FL triple-murder has 230 felony charges; another gun control fail


Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd shows off images of the three suspects in a triple slaying in Florida. (Screen snip, YouTube, WFTS – ABC Action News)

The suspected killer of three Florida men has a police record dating back to when he was 12 years old, and according to Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd—whose department arrested the suspect and two others—he’s had 230 felony criminal charges and 26 misdemeanors in his arrest history, including 15 convictions, according to WFTS News.

Identified as Tony “T.J.” Wiggins, 26, the suspect had been arrested as recently as March for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, according to Fox News. He was released on bond, but this new allegation will keep him behind bars.

WFLA offered further details on that attack, explaining Wiggins allegedly broke someone’s arm with a crowbar.

He’s being charged with first-degree murder, possession of firearms and ammunition by a convicted felon, and tampering with evidence.

Arrested and charged as accessories in the July 17 slayings of Damion Tillman, 23, Keven Springfield, 30, and Brandon Rollins, 27, were the suspect’s younger brother, William “Robert” Wiggins and the suspect’s girlfriend, 27-year-old Mary Whittemore.

Sheriff Judd, during a press conference announcing the arrests, called T.J. Wiggins “pure evil in the flesh.”

The three men were shot to death near the community of Frostproof, about 70 miles south of Orlando. They had gone there for an evening fishing trip.

According to Fox News, the murders “shocked” the tiny community, which is in the rural southern part of the county. Left for dead, Rollins called his father for help, but he and his companions succumbed to their wounds. Judd described the crime scene as a massacre.

Gun rights advocates will immediately point to the elder Wiggins as a walking testament to the failure of gun control laws. When investigators searched the trailer where he was living, they reportedly found “two SKS rifles, two Mossberg shotguns, and ammunition for both in a gun safe.” Because he is a convicted felon, Wiggins could not legally own or even possess firearms. So far, it has not been reported where or how Wiggins got hold of these firearms.

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Yet, according to WFTS, the three victims were slain by someone using a Smith & Wesson handgun.

Prior to her arrest in this case, according to Judd, Whittemore had no criminal record. The younger Wiggins had a misdemeanor. WFLA reported that neither Whittemore or the younger Wiggins are cooperating with police.

Following the murders, according to published reports, the Wiggins brothers and Whittemore traveled to a fast food restaurant, bought several hamburgers and went home. The next morning, the suspect drove his pickup to a carwash to wash off the mud, apparently picked up at the crime scene.

Reaction to the arrests has been predictable, with people wanting the suspects to be treated harshly if convicted.

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