State Trying Bigoms For Dismemberment Murder; Though Defense Says There Is Little Proof

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - by Hollie Webb
Tony Bigoms
Tony Bigoms
- photo by Hollie Webb

After a jury selection lasting all day Tuesday, the 14 selected jurors will be sequestered from now until the end of Tony Bigoms' trial for the homicide of Dana Wilkes. When a jury is sequestered, the jurors must stay in a special location throughout the duration of the trial and are not allowed to have access to the Internet or to watch TV.

Bigoms, who was acquitted in 2006 of the murder of Dinah Burney, has again been charged with first-degree murder. He is also charged with abuse of a corpse.

At the time of the murder, Bigoms was on probation because of a prior attempted aggravated sexual battery conviction.

He was arrested on Jan. 16, 2013 after a two-month investigation. Ms. Wilkes was first reported missing on Nov. 10, 2012, but her body was not found until 15 days later. It was discovered, dismembered, in a creek bank by Youngstown Road. Her head and arms had been cut off.

However, assistant public defender Steven Brown has stated, "The unlikeliness of conviction is strong. There is absolutely nothing to connect Mr. Bigoms with the death of Dana Wilkes." Bigoms is represented by attorney Jane Buffaloe.

Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman also agreed that the state had little proof, lowering Bigoms' total bond from $250,000 to $40,000 on the condition that if he made bond he would be required to wear an ankle monitor.

According to Bigoms' attorneys, Bigoms was friends with Ms. Wilkes and her husband, who was in jail at the time of her murder. He told police that on the night of her murder, he rode with Ms. Wilkes to Walmart and a gas station before she dropped him off at the Family Dollar on Brainerd Road.

A former girlfriend of Bigoms' has also stated he was with her later that night.

However, prosecutors have said Bigoms' DNA was found in the clothing on the body. They have also pointed out that the last call the woman received was from Bigoms at 2:30 a.m.

The trial is expected to go into the weekend and possibly Monday.


Corker, Alexander Vote To Advance The National Defense Authorization Act

U.S. Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement Tuesday after voting to advance the National Defense Authorization Act.  “The challenges our nation faces are vast, and it is critical that we provide our men and women in uniform the tools necessary to protect and defend U.S. interests at home and abroad,” said Senator ... (click for more)

Bradley County Fire-Rescue Commended For Efforts In South Carolina Flood Relief

Commissioner Peak commended Bradley County Fire-Rescue for its efforts in South Carolina that was flooded by rain from Hurricane Joaquin.   Fire-Rescue Chief Troy Maney said a report he received at 3 p.m. stated the swift water rescue team had rescued 55 people. The first was a 17-year-old “who was clinging to a tree when they got to him. The one after that was a 91-year-old ... (click for more)

VW PILOT Crash Landing

The Volkswagen emission scandal proves the point citizen activist, Ms. Helen Burns Sharp, has repeatedly brought to the attention of local government officials. She urged them to "beef up" the PILOT contracts before approving PILOT tax abatements. Any logical person would agree, because it is the only way to recoup a tax loss when unthinkable situations arise. Volkswagen's willful ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Readers Are Right

Jeffrey Cross is a community activist in the very finest way. He has no idea that I and many others have followed what he has done, and tirelessly I might add, to enhance the St. Elmo neighborhood at the foot of Lookout Mountain. I wish this world had a million Jeffrey Crosses. So when he wrote in protest of my Monday story, “We Want Our City Back,” I was more than eager to read ... (click for more)

Baylor Boys Win 17th D-II AA Golf Title; Baylor Girls Take Second

  MANCHESTER – On a sun-drenched afternoon, it was a special day for Baylor golf and for the King Oehmig family. Highlighted by a 5-under, 31 on the final nine holes, Baylor senior Oliver Simonsen shot a two-day, 3-under 141 to lead Baylor to the 2015 TSSAA D-II AA boys state championship at WillowBrook Golf Course here Tuesday. Carrying one-of-a-kind black golf ... (click for more)

UTC Women's Basketball Team Ranked No. 22 In Preseason Poll

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women’s basketball team is receiving preseason recognition with a No. 22 ranking in the Athlon Sports 2015-16 Preseason Top 25.   2015 Southern Conference and Tennessee Sports Writers’ Association Coach of the Year Jim Foster returns nine players from the 2015 Southern Conference championship team including four starters. Senior ... (click for more)