Family Honors 3 Best Friends Slain in 'Massacre' During Fishing Trip With Fishing Poles at Florida Memorial

Deserai Nichole (Facebook)
Deserai Nichole (Facebook)

In honor of three friends, Brandon Rollins, Damion Tillman and Keven Springfield, shot and killed as they headed on a night-time fishing trip on a Florida lake last month, friends and family of the men attached fishing poles to three crosses at their memorial site.

“It's really starting to look beautiful out there. #WeMissYouDownHere," Deserai Nichole, a family member of Rollins, wrote on Facebook.

Three people have since been arrested in connection with the July 17 slayings. One of the suspects arrested, Tony “TJ” Wiggins, 26, had been charged with 230 felonies throughout his life, officials said. Wiggins' girlfriend, Mary Whittemore, 27, and his brother, William Wiggins, 21, have also been arrested.

TJ Wiggins is charged with first-degree murder, tampering with evidence and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. His brother and girlfriend are each charged with being accessories after the fact. Jessica Steenson, Rollins' girlfriend, told WREG that Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd personally told her he wouldn’t stop until justice was served for the three best friends.

“I moved here from Jacksonville, Florida for him two years ago and this is not how it was supposed to be, and I want justice for him. And I will not stop until he gets it,” Steenson said.

On July 17, around 11 p.m. Rollins’ father received a call from him pleading for help. He rushed to Lake Streety in Frostproof, where his son was planning to fish, and found him and his two friends shot to death. As police investigated the murders, they found a receipt from Dollar General and when they checked the camera footage at the store, they saw that Tillman had purchased items from the store before the murders, authorities said. 

All three suspects were in the store at the same time, police said.

Police said the store clerk told authorities that Tillman had mentioned he was going fishing with friends while in the store, according to detectives. TJ Wiggins allegedly knew Springfield, and was upset because he claimed that Springfield stole the engine from his truck, according to reports.

Robert Wiggins, who police said has been cooperative with police, allegedly told them that when Tillman got into his car after the trip to the store, TJ Wiggins told him to follow the three men to the lake. When the Wiggins brothers arrived, Tillman was in one truck and Rollins and Springfield were in another, according to authorities.

“Where’s my truck? You stole the engine out of my truck!” police said Robert Wiggins told them TJ Wiggins said before shooting into Rollins and Springfield's vehicle at least nine times. TJ Wiggins then allegedly shot into Tillman’s car.

Police said Robert Wiggins told them that he, his brother and Whittemore left the scene to dispose of the gun before going to get food.

"After the brutal killings, the three suspects drove to McDonald’s, where they ordered 10 double cheeseburgers and two McChicken sandwiches,” Judd said at a press conference after the arrests. “On Saturday morning, Robert took his truck to a car wash in Lake Wales and washed the clay from it.”

After the killings, police said they received tips that TJ Wiggins may be involved. A search warrant was served on TJ Wiggins’ travel trailer and authorities say they found multiple guns and ammunition inside. TJ Wiggins was arrested for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of ammunition by a convicted felon. Police found other bullet casings in the house that they later matched to the casings found at the scene of the murders.

"This is evil in the flesh,” Judd said. “This is a guy who can hurt you just because it’s the right thing for him to do at that moment in time with his three brain cells.”

TJ Wiggins is reportedly known around town for having a checkered past, and Rollins’ mother, Dottie Payton, told WREG that she knew him.

“I worked at the school, many, many years when those kids were very young, and I know them personally. I know their mom, their dad. I know the whole history, I know it all,” said Payton. “He was always a rough kid. He was always in trouble.”

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