DNA, Cell Phone Evidence Tie Bigoms To Murder Of Dana Wilkes; Final Arguments On Monday Morning

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The state used DNA and cell phone evidence to tie Tony Bigoms to the murder of Dana Wilkes on the last day of testimony at the City-County Courts Building on Saturday.

A phone expert pinpointed that Bigoms and Ms. Wilkes were near the same location in East Chattanooga at 2:30 a.m. near where her dismembered body was eventually found. The expert said they both were calling using the same cell tower. 

Also, an expert from the TBI crime lab said DNA found on the bra of Ms. Wilkes in woods near her body matched that of Bigoms.

DNA was also taken from Bigoms in a prior murder case. He was acquitted of the murder of Dinah Burney in a trial in 2006. The jury in the Wilkes trial in the courtroom of Judge Barry Steelman was not told of the prior murder charge.

Witnesses said Bigoms had Dana Wilkes listed under Dinah in his cell phone contacts.

The defense did not put on any proof.

Final arguments will begin Monday morning. Prosecutors are Lance Pope and Cameron Williams. Defense attorneys from the public defender's office are Steve Brown and Jane Buffaloe.

Ms. Wilkes was reported missing on Nov. 10, 2012, under suspicious circumstances. Her dismembered body was recovered on Nov. 25, 2012 along the creek bank at 3700 Youngstown Road. 

Ms. Burney was found dead alongside Caine Lane in Brainerd on the morning of Feb. 17, 2002. Ms. Burney’s hands were bound behind her back.

An autopsy ruled the cause of death as strangulation. Police initially did not even know who Ms. Burney was. Once she was identified police began retracing her steps. Authorities identify the last place Ms. Burney was known alive as a “drug house” in the 2100 block of Citico Avenue. She had apparently left that location sometime early Sunday morning with an unidentified person.

The vehicle she had borrowed from a friend was still parked on Citico Avenue and the keys were in the victim’s pocket when her body was found. It is likely that the victim was killed somewhere else and her body dumped on Caine Lane, police said.


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ADAMS, BRAD DEWAYNE  2821 3RD AVE CHATTANOOGA, 37407  Age at Arrest: 37 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County Booked for Previous Charges or Other Reason(s) --- ADKINS, KENDRA R  132 PARKS DRIVE FORT OGLETHORPE, 30742  Age at Arrest: 19 years old Arresting Agency: Red Bank ... (click for more)

Travis Caslin, 42, Shot While Walking Along South Willow Street

Chattanooga Police said a man was shot on Friday night while walking along South Willow Street.   The victim was identified as Travis Caslin, 42.   At 7:37 p.m., Chattanooga Police officers were called to a local hospital after a person showed up with a gunshot wound.   Police were informed that the victim's condition was non-life threatening. ... (click for more)

October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Myth And Fact Check

My husband and I recently had the privilege of participating in the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Chattanooga. I listened as my husband told the audience about how his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when he was nine and how she died from the disease when he was fourteen. As a child, my husband didn’t understand what breast cancer ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: It’s All About People

The leaders of Hamilton County’s Mental Health Court held a heart-warming open house Friday afternoon and it was announced that just since February, the creation has saved the county over $3 million in incarceration costs. But to hear County Mayor Jim Coppinger or Judge Don Poole tell it, that’s not what is important. “Soon after the court started, a kind, quiet man I’ll ... (click for more)

Mocs Fall 20-14 To Visiting Citadel

The Chattanooga Mocs fell just short in a 20-14 heart-breaker against The Citadel. It was a hard-fought game that went the full 60 minutes.   The Mocs defense stiffened and gave their offensive teammates a shot late in the fourth quarter. The Citadel marched 41 yards, churning out 5-plus minutes of game clock. Tae Davis dropped Grant Drakeford for a 3-yard loss at the Mocs ... (click for more)

Top-Ranked Alabama Smashes Tennessee 45-7

Tennessee, a 34-point underdog in one of college football’s better long-running series, stayed close for one quarter before top-ranked Alabama switched to another gear and pummeled the struggling Vols, 45-7, Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. The rock-ribbed Crimson Tide defense locked down Tennessee’s ground game, hounded quarterback Jarrett Guarantano relentlessly ... (click for more)