The Chattanooga man who beheaded his victim had four more years tacked onto his life sentence. Tony Edwards Bigoms, 60, had been sentenced to life in prison for first-degree murder, and had four more years added onto his indefinite sentence for abuse of a corpse.
In November of 2012, Dana Wilkes was last seen with her friend Bigoms at a gas station. Her vehicle was later found on the side of the road, with blood splattered inside. A few weeks later, her headless and handless corpse was discovered on the banks of a creek.
Bigoms was found guilty of murder in 2014, but successfully appealed his conviction and was granted a retrial. For a second time in September of this year, a jury found Bigoms guilty of murder. At the sentencing, her uncle, Charles Frazier, addressed the courtroom.
“You did the unthinkable, by betraying that friendship and betraying that trust,” said her uncle. “You decided on that night in November of 2012 to force yourself upon her, and in the process or shortly after, you killed her. Just as heinously, you attempted to cover up the nature of the crime by dismembering her body.”
The uncle continued, looking directly at his niece’s killer and assuring the defendant he was surely guilty, despite Bigoms’ claims he was not.
“You have claimed innocence, but that charade of innocence, as far as I’m concerned, is over now that you’ve been convicted not once, but twice in this courtroom.”
However, the family member did tell Bigoms that, while the family was not in a particularly forgiving mood, they believed there was still a chance for his soul to be saved.
“Even though you have shown no remorse, I truly hope for the sake of your soul that you will seek forgiveness,” said Mr. Frazier, “In Jesus Christ, that opportunity is there, and I hope you will genuinely take advantage of it.”
Bigoms’ attorney Steven Brown made it abundantly clear that his client was intent on appealing the verdict, and planned on filing a motion for a new trial. Bigoms, who allegedly has lung cancer, was also said to require internment in a special facility if the appeal failed. Judge Barry Steelman was assured this place would be in a prison, and have adequate security.
“You just wish it were over. It’s having to go through it again. When we get back home, it’s different, but coming here, it’s just tough,” said Ms. Wilkes’ father, who did not like the sound of a possible third trial, “It’s in the back of my mind, but I do not think they will give him a retrial. But it’s still in the back of our minds. I feel like justice has been done, but you just never know.”
Bigoms has 30 days to file his motion for a new trial.