3 Arrested in Polk County Weekend Triple Homicide: Sheriff

The three friends were slain just moments after gathering at remote boat ramp at Lake Streety in Frostproof


Authorities in central Florida have arrested two men and one woman in the killings of three best friends who had gathered last Friday for a night of fishing.

NBC affiliate WFLA-TV reports that 26-year-old Tony "TJ" Wiggins, 26, who Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said "did the damage," was charged with three counts of murder while his girlfriend, 27-year-old Mary Whittemore, and brother, 21-year-old Robert Wiggins, were arrested and charged with being accessories to the murders.

The three friends were slain just moments after gathering at remote boat ramp at Lake Streety in Frostproof.

Judd, who has worked at the agency since 1972, called the murder scene "horrific," describing the deaths as a "massacre." He said the men -- identified as Damion Tillman, 23; Keven Springfield, 30; and Brandon Rollins, 27 -- were beaten and shot.

Investigators have pieced together what they believed happened, Judd said, while adding that Tillman and TJ Wiggins appear to have had a conversation at a store before the incident took place.

Tillman arrived at the lake first to meet his friends for “night fishing” for catfish. When Rollins and Springfield arrived, they saw Tillman being beaten. The attackers then began shooting them.

The sheriff said Rollins was still alive when the attackers left. He called his father for help. The father arrived about 10 minutes later but forget his cellphone in a rush to help his son. So he drove to a convenience store where the clerk helped him call authorities.

By the time help arrived, his son had died.

The sheriff didn't say what information Rollins shared with his father before he died. But he confirmed they had a conversation.

Judd added the trip of suspects drove to an undisclosed location where they stripped down the gun, took it apart, and threw it away before going to a nearby fast food restaurant to eat.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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