A Florida man described as “pure evil” and “out of control” has been charged with murdering three best friends who were on a fishing trip last weekend, authorities announced Wednesday.
Tony “T.J.” Wiggins, a career criminal with 280 felony charges on his record, “literally massacred” the young victims in a senseless murder Friday night in the rural city of Frostproof, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said at a news conference.
The suspect’s girlfriend and brother are also facing charges, but authorities said Wiggins was the cold-blooded “trigger man” who allegedly killed the victims over some kind of truck deal that’s still under investigation.
“He’s a thug,” Judd told reporters. “He’s a criminal. He’s pure evil in the flesh. He’s wild and he’s out of control.”
Rollins ended up dying in his father’s arms
The victims — identified as Damion Tillman, 23, Brandon Rollins, 27, and Keven Springfield, 30 — were violently beaten and murdered shortly after parking their trucks by a lake that night.
Tillman and Springfield died immediately after the attack, but Rollins was able to call his father asking for help, according to the sheriff’s office. Rollins ended up dying in his father’s arms a short time later, Judd said.
A preliminary investigation suggests Wiggins and his co-defendants had followed the victim’s two trucks after seeing them leave a nearby Dollar General store minutes earlier. Authorities said the 26-year-old suspect got out of his car and confronted Springfield, repeatedly shouting: “Where’s my truck?”
It’s unclear what truck he was referring to, but Judd said the investigation is ongoing. Springfield apparently told Wiggins he had no idea what he was talking about before the gunman shot him and Rollings about nine to 10 times, the sheriff said.
Tillman, who had driven to the scene in his own truck, was the last one to be shot.
The other suspect, 21-year-old William “Robert” Wiggins, told investigators he watched his older brother shoot all three victims, authorities said. TJ Wiggins’ girlfriend, 27-year-old Mary Whittemore, has not cooperated with the investigation.
After the killings, the trio went to a McDonald’s and ordered 10 double cheeseburgers and two McChicken sandwiches, Judd told reporters.
Judd said the three suspects were found Monday living off-the-grid in a wooded area outside of Frostproof. They were staying in two separate trailers that had some generators but no running water or electricity, the sheriff said.