Family of three best friends massacred at fishing spot say the death penalty is their 'number one priority' and that victims knew 'killers' most of their lives

The heartbroken family of one of the three best friends massacred at a nighttime fishing spot have revealed they have known the suspected killers most of their lives and said that pushing for the death penalty is their 'number one priority'. 
Childhood best friends Damion Tillman, 23, Keven Springfield, 30, and Brandon Rollins, 27, were all shot and killed while out fishing in the small community of Frostproof, Florida, last Friday evening. 
Tony 'TJ' Wiggins, 26, his girlfriend Mary Whittemore, 27, and his brother Robert Wiggins, 21, were arrested and charged over the deaths after investigators said TJ tailed Tillman to the remote lake, murdered the group and then headed to McDonald's for a feast of 10 cheeseburgers and two McChicken sandwiches.
Rollins' devastated mother called for her son's murderers to be executed for their crimes as she watched from outside South County Jail as the three suspects appeared in their first court hearing Thursday. 
'The death penalty is definitely our number one priority,' Dottie Payton told ABC Action News.
The heartbroken mom of Brandon Rollins - one of the three best friends massacred at a nighttime fishing spot - has said that pushing for the death penalty is the family's 'number one priority'
The heartbroken mom of Brandon Rollins - one of the three best friends massacred at a nighttime fishing spot - has said that pushing for the death penalty is the family's 'number one priority'
Brandon Rollins, 27, was murdered on Friday night on a fishing trip to a Florida lake
Damian Tillman was one of three friends killed on the fishing trip
Keven Springfield. The three victims had been friends since childhood
Brandon Rollins, 27, left, Damion Tillman, 23, center, Keven Springfield, 30, right, and all died in the Friday night massacre

Payton choked back tears as she said TJ - who has a long rap sheet including 230 felony charges, 15 convictions and two prison stays - should not have been free to commit the triple murder in the first place. 
'I just don't understand how that many charges, being a convicted felon and you're out here walking the streets like a normal person,' said Payton.
She added that she had her suspicions that TJ was involved in her son's death before the trio were picked up by police.  
'He was always a rough kid - always in trouble,' she said. 'I had suspicions... my son was there at the wrong time.' 
The heartbroken mom went on to describe Rollins as a 'mama's boy' and recalled how he would often call her when he finished work. 
'It's gonna be very hard because when I go back to work, I'm not gonna get that phone call on the way home 'mom, I'm off work, come pick me up.' I'm not gonna have that chance no more to get the call to pick him up. So it's gonna be very hard,' she said.
Rollins' father Cyril Rollins (pictured), who was first on the scene of the massacre and held his son in his arms as he lay dying by the lake, said he can't stop reliving the final moments of his son's life
Jessica Steenson (pictured), Rollins' girfriend, said they had known the 'Wiggins boys' years and never liked them
Rollins' father Cyril Rollins (left), who was first on the scene of the massacre and held his son in his arms as he lay dying by the lake, said he can't stop reliving the final moments of his son's life. Jessica Steenson (right), Rollins' girfriend, said they had known the 'Wiggins boys' years and never liked them 
The devastated family called for the suspected murderers to be executed for their crimes as they watched the first court appearance from outside South County Jail Thursday
The devastated family called for the suspected murderers to be executed for their crimes as they watched the first court appearance from outside South County Jail Thursday
Rollins and Steenson. She said she suspected the killers could have been high on drugs at the time of the slayings
Rollins and Steenson. She said she suspected the killers could have been high on drugs at the time of the slayings
Rollins' father Cyril Rollins, who was first on the scene of the massacre and held his son in his arms as he lay dying by the lake, told ABC Action News he couldn't stop reliving the final moments of his son's life. 
Rollins had called his father in the moments before he died, managing to get out the word 'help'. 
'He could call anybody. 911, anything, but he didn't cause he called me. He knew his daddy was gonna be here,' said Cyril.  
The distraught family also revealed the three victims grew up together on the same street and had known their suspected killers for years. 
Jessica Steenson, Rollins' girfriend, said they had never liked the 'Wiggins boys' and that she suspected they could have been high on drugs at the time of the slayings. 
'We knew TJ. We didn't know him personally but we knew the Wiggins boys and we never liked them,' she told WFLA News, before adding that they 'never knew [TJ] would ever do this'. 
'They're drug heads and they could have been high out of their minds who knows.'  
The close-knit community rallied round the family's of the three victims this week. 
Family and friends laid flowers and paid tribute at a memorial at the site of the gruesome murders.
Meanwhile a fundraiser set up by the Polk County Sheriff's Office to cover funeral costs stopped accepting further donations after receiving an overwhelming outpouring of support.  
The three suspects charged over the massacre appeared in court via a video link for the first time Thursday afternoon where they were read out their charges.  
Tony 'TJ' Wiggins
Mary Whittemore
William 'Robert' Wiggins
Tony 'TJ' Wiggins, 26, left,  his girlfriend Mary Whittemore, 27, center, and his brother Robert Wiggins, 21, right, have each been charged over the deaths of Damion Tillman, 23; Keven Springfield, 30; and Brandon Rollins, 27, in Frostproof on Friday
Tony 'TJ' Wiggins is sworn in during a first appearance hearing at the South County Jail in Frostproof, Florida on Thursday
Tony 'TJ' Wiggins is sworn in during a first appearance hearing at the South County Jail in Frostproof, Florida on Thursday 
Mary Whittemore, charged with three counts of accessory to murder, had her bond set at $45,000.
Robert Wiggins is charged with three counts of accessory to murder and tampering with evidence
Mary Whittemore (left) charged with three counts of accessory to murder, had her bond set at $45,000. Robert Wiggins (right) is charged with three counts of accessory to murder and tampering with evidence. He had his bond set at $46,000 
TJ was charged with three counts of first degree murder and is being held without bond. 
TJ was out on bond at the time of the murders accused of breaking a man's arm with a crowbar, police said Wednesday. 
Whittemore, charged with three counts of accessory to murder, had her bond set at $45,000. 
Robert Wiggins is charged with three counts of accessory to murder and tampering with evidence. He had his bond set at $46,000.  
Security footage released by cops Wednesday shows TJ chats to Tillman shortly before the shooting on Friday night as he made a purchase at a Dollar General store; at times TJ is seen raising his arms in a surrender gesture and shrugs his shoulders. The victim then leaves the store and TJ walks out after a short delay. 
Police claim TJ  then followed Tillman to the remote fishing spot where he was meeting Springfield and Rollins before shooting all three dead over a 'truck deal gone wrong'.  
TJ then headed straight to McDonald's with Whittemore and Robert to order 10 cheeseburgers and two McChicken sandwiches, police say.  
Alleged killers and victims seen in Dollar Store before murders
Loaded: 0%
Progress: 0%
0:00
Previous
Play
Skip
Mute
Current Time0:00
/
Duration Time2:40
Fullscreen
Need Text
Tony 'TJ' Wiggins, 26, is seen talking to Damion Tillman, 23 on Friday night as he made a purchase at a Dollar General store in Florida and at one point he raised his arms in surrender. In a detailed account of what police believed happened, all three suspects are said to have followed Tillman after overhearing his fishing plans with Keven Springfield and Brandon Rollins
Tony 'TJ' Wiggins, 26, is seen talking to Damion Tillman, 23 on Friday night as he made a purchase at a Dollar General store in Florida and at one point he raised his arms in surrender. In a detailed account of what police believed happened, all three suspects are said to have followed Tillman after overhearing his fishing plans with Keven Springfield and Brandon Rollins
At one point TJ Wiggins raised his arms in surrender as Damion appeared to be paying for his items in the Dollar General
At one point TJ Wiggins raised his arms in surrender as Damion appeared to be paying for his items in the Dollar General
Damion is seen walking into the store
TJ Wiggins and his girlfriend appear
Brandon Wiggins walks in
Damion is seen walking into the store on the left, center; TJ Wiggins and his girlfriend appear and right is Brandon Wiggins
The following day, the alleged shooter's brother Robert - who is also seen in the video walking into the Dollar General before Tillman - took his truck to be cleaned.   
Robert Wiggins told detectives he watched as TJ shot all three victims, police said. 
Each of the victims were shot a number of times at the remote fishing spot, police said, after TJ asked Springfield: 'Where's my truck? You sold the engine out of my truck.' Springfield is said to have replied: 'I don't know what you are talking about.'  
TJ had wanted to confront Springfield over 'some kind of truck deal' Sheriff Judd said. 
Police said in a statement Wednesday: 'During a search of the crime scene, detectives found a Dollar General bag and receipt dated the night of the murders, and worked their way backwards from there. 
'They responded to the Dollar General store, and retrieved store video surveillance that showed one of the victims - Damion Tillman - making some purchases. 
'Detectives spoke with the clerk, who knows Damion as a frequent customer. The clerk told detectives that Damion said he was going fishing. The clerk also saw the suspects in the store at the same time, and they are also seen in the video. 
'The clerk told detectives that the suspects heard Damion say he was going fishing, and that Keven would be with him, as the clerk listened to all of them talk to each other about it.' 
TJ was first arrested aged just 12 and has 230 felonies on his rap sheet including several assault and battery, armed burglary, and weapons charges. He has been convicted on 15 felonies. A selection of his mugshots over the years is pictured
TJ was first arrested aged just 12 and has 230 felonies on his rap sheet including several assault and battery, armed burglary, and weapons charges. He has been convicted on 15 felonies. A selection of his mugshots over the years is pictured 
'He’s a thug. He’s a criminal. He’s pure evil in the flesh,' Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said about TJ, who was first arrested at 12 years old and had 15 felony convictions on his record. 'He’s wild and he’s out of control.' TJ also went to prison twice
'He's a thug. He's a criminal. He's pure evil in the flesh,' Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said about TJ, who was first arrested at 12 years old and had 15 felony convictions on his record. 'He's wild and he's out of control.' TJ also went to prison twice
In a detailed account of what police believed happened Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said all three suspects are said to have followed their victims to Lake Streety in Frostproof, Florida, on Friday night, pictured
In a detailed account of what police believed happened Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said all three suspects are said to have followed their victims to Lake Streety in Frostproof, Florida, on Friday night, pictured 
The men were found by Cyril Rollins, the father of Brandon. Cyril is pictured left on Saturday
The men were found by Cyril Rollins, the father of Brandon. Cyril is pictured left on Saturday 
They added: 'The search warrant at the trailer also yielded ammunition that was compared to the shell casings found at the scene of the triple homicide. The ammunition was sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) lab for testing.
'The FDLE expedited the testing. The test results came back positive - the ammunition found in the trailer is the same ammunition fired from the gun that night, a Smith & Wesson handgun.' 
The three murdered friends were found by Cyril Rollins who Rollins managed to call at about 10p.m. Friday and say 'help' before he died.  
The father jumped into his car and went to where his son had said he was going fishing.  
He left his home without his cellphone, so he returned to a nearby gas station and called 911, the sheriff's office said. 
He did not use his son's phone to make the call, as he would 'have had difficulty finding it at the scene', police said Monday. 
When authorities arrived at the scene, all three men were dead. 
Sheriff Judd said the shock of finding his son dying alongside his two friends sent Cyril to hospital later in the day. 
Tillman had traveled alone to the spot, police said. His car was found facing south; the vehicle carrying Rollins and Springfield was next to it, facing north 'right in the middle of the road' suggesting they were parked 'so they could talk to each other'. 
Sheriff Judd said in an earlier interview: '[Rollins' dad] is not doing well at all. In fact, later in the day he had to go to the hospital as well. You can imagine the horrible shock to hear your son on the cellphone say 'help'. You rush to his side, you see his two best buddies shot dead and he is shot and really taking his last breaths.'  
'When he arrived he found his son Brandon barely alive, and his two friends deceased,' the sheriff's office said in a press release Saturday. 'Brandon was able to say a few things to his dad, which we are not releasing at this time.' 
Tj Wiggins and Mary Whittemore pictured. The couple allegedly headed to McDonald's after the triple murder
Tj Wiggins and Mary Whittemore pictured. The couple allegedly headed to McDonald's after the triple murder
Mary Whittemore has been charged with three counts of accessory to murder
Robert Wiggins has been charged with three counts of accessory to murder and and tampering with evidence
Robert Wiggins has been charged with three counts of accessory to murder and and tampering with evidence; Whittemore three counts of accessory to murder
'This is a horrific scene,' said Judd, 'I've been to a lot of murder scenes in my life and this ranks among the worst I've been to.' 
All three arrested in connection with the deaths were found 'living off the grid' in two travel trailers on Monday, Sheriff Judd announced. Police say they found two SKS rifles, two Mossberg shotguns, and ammunition for both in a gun safe belonging to TJ Wiggins in one of the trailers.  
TJ was first arrested aged just 12 and has 230 felonies on his rap sheet including several assault and battery, armed burglary, and weapons charges. He has been convicted on 15 felonies. 
'He's a thug. He's a criminal. He's pure evil in the flesh,' Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said. 'He's wild and he's out of control.' 
Police described TJ as 'mean', 'wild' and 'violent' and someone who 'would go up and punch people for no reason'. 
Records show that victims Keven Springfield and Brandon Rollins had prior arrests; Brandon for burglary and traffic violations, Springfield for theft, burglary and domestic battery.  
Family of three best friends massacred at fishing spot say the death penalty is their 'number one priority' and that victims knew 'killers' most of their lives Family of three best friends massacred at fishing spot say the death penalty is their 'number one priority' and that victims knew 'killers' most of their lives Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 03:30 Rating: 5

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.