Former drug dealer-turned-doughnut chef was repeatedly branded a “liar” by a defense attorney during Saturday’s trial. He was just one of several witnesses who took the stand during the fourth day of an alleged murderer’s retrial in Judge Steelman’s courtroom.
In 2012, Tony Bigoms allegedly murdered Dana White, and then decapitated her corpse before dumping it near a creek. While he was convicted in 2014, he successfully appealed his conviction after the court of appeals found the jury and testimony violated certain laws. The retrial began on Sept. 11, and has continued every day since then.
The first witness was Ms. Wilkes’ “best friend,” who knew both the victim, her late husband, and Bigoms. According to the witness, Bigoms and Tom Wilkes referred to each other as cousins, but believed Bigoms had less than familial feelings about Ms. Wilkes.
“He seemed to spend a lot of time with her, ” she said, “He seemed to be infatuated (with her, and wanted) to be around her.”
The witness said she tried to call Ms. Wilkes about an upcoming concert in November, but to no avail. It was only after Bigoms told her the news of Ms. Wilkes’ disappearance that she knew of her friend’s disappearance.
“She wouldn’t just leave and not say anything. There was no way, so it just kind of flipped me out,” said the witness, who then said Tony told her he was the last one to see Ms. Wilkes, “He said she mentioned selling pills. The thing is that Dana wouldn’t go by herself. She had to have told him something. He had to know something. It didn’t make sense.”
She also noted his tone of voice, saying “In the beginning, it was fine. But the more I asked questions, the more he seemed irritated with me.”
After her was a parade of police officers and investigators, who gave corroborating stories about the inspection of Wilkes’ Jeep and the ensuing investigation of multiple residences. Pictures shown to the jury displayed a blood-splattered vehicle, but also depicted a spotless apartment lacking any evidence in terms of blood stains.
Then entered Lawan Fortson, the man the defense told the jury to pay attention to. Mr. Fortson’s phone records showed he tried to call Tom Wilkes over a dozen times in the week prior to Wilkes’ disappearance. After the jury was sent away and the judge decided to allow Mr. Fortson to testify, the drug dealer turned doughnut maker gave his side of the story.
According to the witness, he knew Tony Bigoms through Tom Wilkes, who would often work on his car. According to Mr. Fortson, he tried to call Wilkes many times to get him to work on Mr. Fortson’s car, as he was unaware Mr. Wilkes was in jail at the time.
Mr. Fortson was shown to have received a call from Tom Wilkes’ phone on the day Ms. Wilkes went missing. According to Mr. Fortson, it was Bigoms who called him using that number, and said Bigoms facilitated a drug deal a few minutes later. Bigom’s attorney vehemently disagreed with this story.
“Have you ever talked to Dana Wilkes on the phone?” asked Bigom’s defense attorney.
“No sir,” replied the witness.
“Yes you have. That’s cause you’re lying about it, and Dana called you,” said the defense attorney, alleging it was Ms.. Wilkes who called Mr. Fortson after dropping Bigoms off at Family Dollar after their trip to Walmart.
The trial continues on Sunday at 10 a.m.