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‘Evil in the flesh’: 3 arrested in Florida massacre of 3 fishing buddies

26-year-old Tony "TJ" Wiggins and his girlfriend, 27-year-old Mary Whittemore; Tony's brother, 21-year-old William "Robert" Wiggins, arrested in connection to a triple homicide in Polk County, Fla. (Polk County Sheriff's Office/Released)

Deputies arrested three people they believe are associated with a massacre in Frostproof over the weekend in which three men were killed.

The three best friends were brutally massacred not far from a spot they picked out for some night fishing.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said. The victims — Damion Tillman, 23, Keven Springfield, 30, and Brandon Rollins, 27 — were found dead near their two trucks Friday near US Highway 27 in Frostproof.

On Monday, Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrested Tony Wiggins, 26. The following day Mary Whittemore, 27, and Tony’s brother, Robert Wiggins, 21 were arrested for their involvement, said Sheriff Grady Wednesday morning during a press conference.

Tony faces three felony charges of murder in the first degree. Whittemore and Robert are facing three counts of accessory to murder and one count of tampering with evidence, Grady said.

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The day after the murders were reported, PCSO received hundreds of tips from the community regarding Wiggins, who had accumulated 230 felony criminal charges in his lifetime, Judd said.

“This is evil incarnate,” Judd said in regards to Tony Wiggins. “His criminal history should shock your conscience. It shocks mine. He was first arrested at 12, and has had 230 felony criminal charges in his arrest history… He’s a thug. He’s a criminal. He is pure evil in the flesh.”

While the tips were helpful, what ultimately had detectives looking toward Tony was a Dollar General bag found in Tillman’s truck.

Detectives received video surveillance from the store which showed Tony and Robert at 9:56 p.m. Friday standing behind Tillman in the store’s checkout. Whittemore was also determined to be in the store.

A later interrogation of Robert revealed that Tillman explained to the cashier he was on his way to a fishing trip with Kevin Springfield, Judd said. Robert told his brother about Tillman’s plans to meet Springfield. Tony then decided to follow Tillman to the lake accompanied by Robert and Whittemore.

They arrived tailing Tillman where Springfield and Rollins were sitting in another truck. Tony got out of his vehicle and was met by Rollins, who he pushed to the ground and then pointed a 9mm handgun at him. Tony then noticed the driver of the truck was Springfield. He then ran over to Springfield pointed the gun at him and screamed “where’s my truck?”

Springfield told him he wasn’t sure what Tony was talking about, but Tony insisted that Springfield stole his truck’s engine and sold it.

Tillman exited his vehicle and tried to interfere but Tony then fired nine to 10 shots at Springfield and Rollins.

He then turned and fired on Damian.

At 10:06 p.m. Damian called his father asking for help.

His father was able to find him, but he died before first responders arrived.

Florida’s Department of Law Enforcement was able to test the shell cases at the scene with a single 9mm shell casing found in Tony’s trailer Monday, in a forested area outside of Frostproof.

Lab results confirmed the cases were fired from the same weapon.

Detectives arrested Tony Monday at his home with a charge of a felon possession of a firearm. He was charged the following day for the deaths of the three men.

When questioned Whittemore and Robert lied to authorities repeatedly about where Tony was that night. The only common thread their stories shared at first was the three of them had gone to a McDonald’s to order 10 double cheeseburgers and two McChickens.

Robert later told authorities about Tony’s rage regarding Springfield and the truck engine; however, detectives have not been able to corroborate that story at this time.

Some of Tony’s previous arrests include burglary, aggravated battery, aggravated battery on law enforcement, Judd said.

PCSO will be working with the State Attorney’s office on this case, with the Sheriff’s goal being capital punishment.

“(Tony) should have a fair trial. He should have the appropriate appeals, and then he should be executed,” Judd said. “Legally we can;t execute him the same way he execute 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.”

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© 2020 The Orlando Sentinel