POLK COUNTY, Fla. — Three people have been arrested on charges related to the killing of three friends who met up for a fishing trip in Polk County last week, Sheriff Grady Judd announced Wednesday.
Judd said Tony “TJ” Wiggins, 26, and his girlfriend, Mary Whittemore, 27, and Tony’s brother, William “Robert” Wiggins, 21, were all arrested this week on charges related to the deaths of 23-year-old Damion Tillman, 30-year-old Keven Springfield and 27-year-old Brandon Rollins.
Tony, who Judd said has 230 felony criminal charges in his arrest history dating back to age 12, is charged with first degree murder, tampering with evidence, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of ammunition by a convicted felon.
“He’s a thug. He’s a criminal. He’s pure evil in the flesh,” Judd said. “He’s wild and he’s out of control.”
Judd said Tony has 15 felony convictions on his record and has served two sentences in state prison.
Deputies said Robert is charged with tampering with evidence and accessory after the fact of capital felony, and Whittemore is charged with accessory after the fact of capital felony.
Judd detailed the timeline of what happened on Friday night that led to the massacre near a lake in rural Frostproof. He said Tillman stopped at a Dollar General on his way to meet his friends, where security camera footage captured him have a brief conversation with Tony.
Judd said Tillman mentioned to the cashier that he was meeting his friend Kevin to go fishing. Ten minutes later, Judd said Tillman and his two friends were all shot and dying.
Judd said Tony, his brother and girlfriend followed Tillman to the lakeside where Tony confronted Kevin selling a truck engine before beating him and then opening fire, killing all three friends.
Judd said the details regarding the sold truck engine accusation are still under investigation, but referred to it as a possible civil, not criminal matter.
Judd said Tony, Robert and Whittemore all lived off the grid in a rural area near Frostproof and Lake Wales.
Officials recently announced a $30,000 case reward for any tips that led to an arrest in the case.
Judd previously described the scene of the attack as “about as far out in the woods as you can get.” In 2018, the city of Frostproof recorded only 3,273 residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
“It has shaken Frostproof to its very core,” Judd said.
“What’s more wholesome than three buddies going fishing? …And then being shot down in the middle of the road during the nighttime hours. We’ve got to bring these people to justice,” Judd said.
Watch the sheriff’s full news conference below:
Cox Media Group