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.

Home Damaged, Dog Killed In House Fire Friday Afternoon

A home was damaged and a dog was killed on Friday afternoon in a house fire. At  2:30 p.m. , a neighbor called 911 reporting a loud explosion coming from next door. The Highway 58 Volunteer Fire Department responded to 5901 Sams Smith Road and reported heavy smoke coming from the crawl space and fire crawling up the side of the home. Since no one was home, ... (click for more)

3 Arrested In Murder Of Reginald Ballard On Feb. 20

East Ridge police detectives have made several arrests in the Feb. 20 murder of Reginald Ballard. Mr. Ballard was found dead at the Cascades Motel at 3625 Ringgold Road. Mr. Ballard had been shot two times. Detectives, with the assistance of the Chattanooga Police Department and Dayton Police Department developed, located and interviewed witnesses to the crime and its aftermath. ... (click for more)

Proud Of Hometown Boy Turned Global Leader, Bob Corker

Time Magazine has it right.  Not only is Chattanooga’s own U.S. Senator Bob Corker one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World,” but he is probably now the most prominent leader in the history of our city.   At a time of extreme frustration with Washington and Congress in general, Bob continues to rise above the division and rancor to build consensus and solve ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Our Leathernecks At Tripoli

I don’t want anybody to get excited, because this happened over 200 years ago, but if you ever wondered why we call our Marines “Leathernecks,” the tale of the Barbary Pirates is pretty intriguing. It is a great rainy-day read and proof America’s problems with Muslim terrorists are hardly new. Around 1800 the people who lived on what was called the Barbary Coast of North Africa ... (click for more)

Brewer Selected New East Ridge Girls Basketball Coach

(Story has been updated) Blaine Brewer admitted his becoming a head coach at East Ridge, or any other place for that matter, is ahead of schedule. “It certainly has happened quicker than I thought it would,” the 24-year-old Brewer said Friday. “I’m really excited though.” Brewer, who is from Memphis and attended Arlington High School where he played basketball and ... (click for more)

McClendon, Ex-Rhea Assistant, Joins Lyness' Lady Trojans Staff

Cheryl McClendon, an assistant girls’ basketball coach at Rhea County the past eight years, has been hired for a similar job at Soddy-Daisy High School, head coach Drew Lyness said Friday afternoon. McClendon has taught at Soddy-Daisy for the last 13 years and served as one of Rhea County coach Shane Johnston’s assistants for almost a decade. Johnston has resigned at Rhea County ... (click for more)