Defense attorney Jane Buffaloe told a Criminal Court jury on Wednesday that just because Tony Bigoms was a friend who was seen with the murdered patient care technician Dana Wilkes, does not mean he is guilty. She urged the jury to look closely at the evidence throughout the trial.
However, prosecutor Cameron Williams reminded jurors of the DNA evidence and cell phone records. Bigoms' DNA was found in the victim's vehicle and on her bra.
Records show he was the last person to call her phone on the night of her disappearance and placed him near the location of where her vehicle was abandoned.
Robert Boulware, the son of Dana Wilkes, testified Wednesday morning that when he found his mother's car, it was abandoned on the side of the road in front of the Wilcox Tunnel with blood on the glove compartment.
At this point, he said he had known his mother was missing for several hours. Mr. Boulware was the fourth witness. He received a tip about the location of her car from a concerned co-worker. Ms. Wilkes had not shown up to work that day and no one could get in touch with her. Co-workers who testified said this was very unusual for the woman they described as "very sweet and very dependable."
Mr. Boulware said he had never heard of Bigoms until he went to search his mother's home. There one of his mother's neighbors handed him a phone, saying someone was on the line asking about his mother. It was Bigoms.
Mr. Boulware said the defendant sounded "concerned" and said he had been with Ms. Wilkes at Walmart the previous night. He said they had gone to get supplies to fix a toilet, after which they parted ways.
Only one co-worker of Ms. Wilkes said she had ever seen Bigoms before.
When asked by defense attorney Steven Brown, all of her coworkers said they did not know her well personally outside of work. They knew she had married a patient, Tom Wilkes, but they did not know details of her marriage.
Attorney Brown asked Ms. Wilkes' co-workers as well as her son if they had any knowledge of her visiting a drug treatment facility or taking methadone, but all said they did not.
Her former supervisor, Leslie Brown, said, "The first thing you would notice about her is she was just the tiniest thing you've ever seen. She was really petite and full of energy." Ms. Brown also noted that Ms. Wilkes had suffered from diabetes since she was a child and that her health had declined in the past year.
Another witness, Chattanooga Police Officer Reginald Parks, said at the time of Ms. Wilkes' disappearance, her husband had been in jail for approximately a week. Officer Parks said he had been part of the investigation after the missing person report was filed.
He said when he originally talked to Bigoms, Bigoms also told him he had been at Walmart with the victim. He said she gave him a ride and made a comment about "selling pills."
A man who lived near Bigoms also testified. He said on the night of the victim's disappearance, he had given Bigoms a ride to the Family Dollar. He said Bigoms told him he was going to work on a vehicle with a friend. There, he said Bigoms was picked up by a blonde woman driving a green Jeep.
Attorneys confer with Judge Barry Steelman
- Photo2 by Hollie Webb