Friend Of Dana Wilkes Said She Kept Questioning Bigoms About Her Disappearance

Friday, April 11, 2014 - by Hollie Webb

A close friend and former roommate of homicide victim Dana Wilkes testified on Friday afternoon that Ms. Wilkes' husband was "in jail all the time" and that defendant Tony Bigoms often helped her out in his absence.  

Stephanie Coleman said she had known Ms. Wilkes' husband, Tom Wilkes, longer, but she was closer to Ms. Wilkes. She said, "We were best friends." Ms. Coleman also lived with Mr. and Ms. Wilkes for several months.

She said it was during this time she met Bigoms.

She said of his and Ms. Wilkes' friendship, "She went to him a lot and vice versa." 

Prosecutor Cameron Williams asked Ms. Coleman if the defendant had ever propositioned her for sex, and she said he had once while she was still living with Ms. Wilkes. She said, "He asked me if I was interested in having sex for money," adding that she had been alone in her room when he walked inside and asked.

She also said it was Bigoms who informed her of her friend's disappearance. However, she admitted that her memory of this phone conversation and the police interview later that day was not entirely clear. Ms. Coleman had recently started taking tricyclic anti-depressants, which at the beginning of treatment can cause side effects such as confusion, dizziness, and cognitive and memory impairment.

Ms. Coleman also said she had been drinking. She does not remember if Bigoms called her or if she called him. She said she was "trying to get in touch with Dana because Vince Gill was in town."

After the defendant informed Ms. Coleman her friend was missing, she said he also told her he had been with her the night before.

She said Bigoms told her they had gone to Family Dollar and Walmart looking for parts to fix a broken toilet.

Ms. Coleman told the jury, "He said that he was dropped off at Family Dollar...He said she was going to make a pill sale."

Ms. Coleman said this concerned her because this seemed out character for Ms. Wilkes. She said, "Dana didn't sell pills, but when Tom was out, that was what he did. She would drive him."

She said, "I asked him repeatedly because I knew how good of friends they were. Something had to have been told...I just kept asking questions over and over again." She said she did not understand how her friend could be missing.

She said after this conversation, she attempted to contact one of Ms. Wilkes' sons to inform them their mother was missing. She also said, "I was trying to find out about this pill thing."

Later, she was contacted by Chattanooga Police Officer Reginald Parks. However, she said she is not entirely sure of what she said during the interview because of her medications and the alcohol.

Ms. Coleman also did not believe Ms. Wilkes was taking methadone. She said she knew about Ms. Wilkes' other medications.

However, when Hamilton County Medical Examiner James Metcalfe testified later, he said her body tested positive for methadone as well as alcohol.

He also said the investigation was hampered by how much the body had decomposed.

Another witness who had seen the crime scene, Chattanooga Police Officer Ken Burnette, testified Friday afternoon.

Pictures of the crime scene and the body were shown to the jury while Officer Burnette described how it had been found.

When asked by prosecutor Lance Pope about the state of Ms. Wilkes' clothing found at the scene, he said it was dirty. Each piece of clothing was submitted into evidence.

The trial will continue Saturday.

 

 

 

 

 


Joint Investigation Results In Arrest Of Sumner County Doctor

An investigation by special agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the 18th Judicial District Drug Task Force, and the Gallatin Police Department has resulted in the arrest of a Hendersonville doctor on prescription-related charges.   In February, investigators with the 18th Judicial Drug Task Force began investigating complaints that Dr. Lawrence Joseph Valdez ... (click for more)

All Power Restored From Tuesday Night Storm Before Dark On Thursday

All EPB customers who experienced an outage as the result of  Tuesday  evening's storms have have been restored, EPB officials said Thursday shortly before 7 p.m. At the height of the storm, there were 60,000 customers affected. (click for more)

Repeal Obamacare, Congressman Fleischmann - And Response (2)

Chuck: I'm writing to express my strong opposition to the plan that is being rolled out by Paul Ryan to replace Obamacare. And as I'm writing this, I'm remembering all the times you and all of your Republican colleagues over the last six years campaigned on REPEALING  Obamacare and used that call to action as the basis for your reelection. And I'm also remembering the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Scottsboro Boys

There is a good-sized train tunnel that runs under the northern tip of Lookout Mountain, right next to Cummings Highway. It was inside that tunnel on this very weekend 86 years ago, that the worst tragedy in the fabled history of the South was born. This was during the tight grip of the Depression and about two dozen hobos had jumped the train from the time it left Southern Railway's ... (click for more)

Storrs' Two-Hitter Leads Bears Past Patriots 4-0

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Jefferson County had no trouble scoring runs while winning its first four games to open the high school baseball season. But Bradley Central right-hander Tripp Storrs stopped the Patriots cold Thursday at the Toby McKenzie Baseball Complex in an Ooltewah Invitational game. Storrs threw a masterful two-hit shutout and Bradley manufactured all its runs ... (click for more)

Grundy Co. Gets First Softball Win Over CSAS

Grundy County got its first softball win of the season with a 10-3 victory over CSAS in the Lookout Valley Invitational Thursday evening, but they came up short in the next game in a 10-9 loss to South Pittsburg. The three-day tournament continues with more pool play on Friday at the O’Mary-Conard Field next to Lookout Valley Elementary School while bracket play will take place ... (click for more)