FROSTPROOF, Fla. – 3 people have been arrested for the murders of a trio of friends who were “massacred” moments after getting together to do some night fishing at a lake on Friday, according to Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.
Judd said Saturday that the men were beaten and shot late Friday night near the city of Frostproof after the suspects followed one of the victims from a Dollar General store.
Killed were Damion Tillman, 23, Keven Springfield, 30, and Brandon Rollins, 27.
Suspects are Tony “TJ” Wiggins, 26, Mary Whittemore, 27, the girlfriend of TJ, and William” “Robert” Wiggins, 21, the brother of TJ, all of Frostproof. Judd said Tillman had stopped into a local Dollar General Store before heading to the lake. The three suspects were in the store at the same time. TJ Wiggins, along with his brother and Whittemore, allegedly followed Tillman out of the store.
(At 1:02, an interaction between Tillman and Wiggins can be seen in the video below.)
“TJ’s criminal history should shock your conscience. He was arrested when he was 12 years old. He is 26 years old — he has 230 felony criminal charges in his arrest history,” said Judd at a Wednesday morning press conference.
The initial investigation showed that around 10:06 p.m. Friday, Rollins called his dad and said “Help. "
“Brandon was able to say a few things to his dad, which we are not releasing at this time,” Grady said.
Judd described the killing as a “massacre.”
The area where the three men were killed is about 68 miles southwest of Orlando and more than 200 miles from Miami.
“It is an extremely rural area — a sparsely populated area and a very low crime rate, which is one of the safest places to live in the nation. But all of that came to a crashing halt when we found these people and these victims massacred,” Judd said.
(Watch the Polk County Sheriff’s Office press conference below)
On Monday, detectives found the suspects living in a family compound of camper trailers not far from the murder scene. “They were living off the grid. No running water, no electricity, just some generators,” Judd said.
TJ Wiggins and Whittemore were living in one of the travel trailers. His brother had another trailer on the same plot.
After executing a search warrant, detectives found two SKS rifles, two Mossberg shotguns, and ammunition for both in a gun safe belonging to TJ Wiggins. Since he is a convicted felon, he was arrested for possession of a firearm and possession of ammunition by a convicted felon, according to the sheriff’s office. He is also charged with first degree murder and tampering with evidence.
He was recently arrested in March for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
“He’s currently out on bond for breaking a guy’s arm during a fight with a crowbar. He was waiting to go back to trial on other felony charges,” Judd said. “He’s a thug. He’s a criminal. He’s pure evil in the flesh. He’s wild and he’s out of control.”
Brother gives details
William “Robert” Wiggins admitted to seeing Tillman, one of the victims, in the Dollar General store on Friday evening while they stood in line. Robert said he and his brother TJ were in line behind Tillman. Whittemore was also in the store.
Wiggins told police that when the trio left the store, TJ directed Robert, who was driving, to turn onto a particular road.
The vehicle with the three suspects passed two trucks. At the direction of TJ, Robert was told to make a U-turn and follow them, according to police. They ended up on Lake Streety Road in Frostproof, near the lake where the 3 friends were murdered.
Robert and Whittemore stayed in the truck, he told police. TJ got out and confronted Keven Springfield, punching him and yelling at him, accusing Springfield of stealing his truck. Damion Tillman got out of his vehicle, and TJ continued to scream at all of them, Robert told police.
Then, he told detectives that he watched as TJ shot all three victims.
After the brutal killings, the three suspects drove to McDonald’s, where they ordered 10 double cheeseburgers, and two McChicken sandwiches. They went back to their trailer to eat, Robert told detectives.
On Saturday morning, Robert took the truck he was driving to a car wash in Lake Wales to get the clay from the road off of it.
Neither Tony TJ Wiggins nor Mary Whittemore are cooperating with detectives, Judd said.
As Tillman was buying items at the Dollar General Store, he mentioned to the clerk that he was going fishing and meeting a friend named Keven, according to Robert.
Judd said that Robert told TJ what he had heard. “And TJ said, ‘What? Keven is going to be there?' "
When the three arrived at the lake, they found the friends sitting in two trucks — Damion Tillman in a red truck and Keven Springfield and Brandon Rollins in a white truck.
Investigators said the timeline of events goes something like this: TJ confronts Keven, who is in the driver’s side of the white truck, and says, “Where’s my truck? You sold the engine out of my truck.” Detectives said information they have is that Keven continued to say he did not know what the man was talking about.
“It’s estimated, and this is still under investigation, that Wiggins begins shooting inside of the truck (with a handgun) where Keven is in the driver’s side and Brandon is seated in the passenger’s side. He shoots, between the two of them, nine or 10 times. Then he shoots Damion who has gotten back in his truck.”
Detectives believe that TJ disposed of the gun.
Judd said no drugs or alcohol were found in any of the vehicles. Judd said the only piece of information that investigators “are digging into” is TJ’s ranting about the stolen engine.
More surveillance video
Whittemore, TJ’s girlfriend, was seen in video surveillance buying ammunition on July 9, 2020. TJ Wiggins was also seen in that video with her.
Ammunition seized at the trailer was compared to shell casings found at the scene of the triple homicide. That ammunition was sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) lab for testing. In expedited testing, the results came back positive — that the ammunition found in the trailer was the same ammunition fired from the gun in the murders, a Smith & Wesson handgun.
Whittemore admitted to police that she purchased the ammunition. She is charged with “accessory after the fact of capital felony,” while Robert Wiggins is charged with “tampering with evidence” and “accessory after the fact of a capitol felony.”
Whittemore has no criminal history in her background; Robert has only 1 misdemeanor.
“The folks who lost their loved ones that night are poor people,” Judd said. “If there is an inclination to help these folks bury their loved ones, I am certain that would be appreciated.”
Please see below on how to donate to the victims’ families - pic.twitter.com/dN9FeSrKpU— Polk County Sheriff 🚔 (@PolkCoSheriff) July 22, 2020
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