Death penalty sought for man in shooting deaths of 3 friends

BARTOW, Fla. (AP) — Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for a 26-year-old man charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the fatal shootings of three friends who had gathered at a central Florida lake in July for some late night fishing.

The State Attorney’s Office filed its intent to seek the death penalty for Tony “T.J.” Wiggins Jr. on Tuesday in Polk County circuit court, the Ledger reported. Wiggins was indicted by a grand jury last month in the deaths of Brandon Rollins, 28; Damion Tillman, 23; and Keven Springfield, 30. Authorities said the three were killed as they prepared for a fishing trip on a lake in Frostproof.

Wiggins remained in the Polk County Jail, where he’s being held without bond. A lawyer wasn’t listed on court records.

Detectives tracked down Wiggins using evidence gathered at the scene and surveillance video from a Dollar General store, where he was seen talking to Tillman in the checkout line minutes before the shootings.

Wiggins’ younger brother, William Robert, told investigators during questioning that he witnessed the shootings while sitting in his brother’s pickup truck, Polk County Sheriff’s officials said. He said his brother accused Springfield, who was a mechanic, of taking his truck, reports said.

Arrest reports said Rollins called his father for help after the shootings. The father found Rollins at the scene but wasn’t able to call for help because he’d left his cellphone behind in a rush to help his son. He also told investigators he couldn’t find his son’s phone because it had fallen between the seats in the truck.

Investigators said they found bullets at the home where Wiggins was living that matched the ones fired at the scene, arrest reports said.

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