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.

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