Florida triple murder case: Family of victim says death penalty for the killers is their 'number one priority'

Florida triple murder case: Family of victim says death penalty for the killers is their 'number one priority'
Tony Wiggins (left), Mary Whittemore and his brother Robert Wiggins (Polk County Sheriff)

FROSTPROOF, FLORIDA: The family of one of the victims of the Florida triple murder case has said that the death penalty for the suspected killers is their “number one priority”. Three friends -- Damion Tillman, 23; Keven Springfield, 30; and Brandon Rollins, 27, -- were brutally murdered when they had gone fishing to a popular lake in Frostproof, Florida, on July 17.

Three suspects -- brothers Tony "TJ" Wiggins, 26, and Robert Wiggins, 21, and a 27-year-old woman Mary Whittemore -- have been arrested and charged in connection with the brutal killings. A surveillance video showed the suspects inside a Dollar General store just 10 minutes before the brutal killings while one of the victims, Tillman, was also there. Reports have claimed that the Wiggins brothers and Whittemore followed Tillman to the lake before killing him and his friends. Investigators also said that the alleged murderers then drove off to a nearby McDonald’s, where they ordered ten double cheeseburgers and two McChicken sandwiches and went back to their trailer to eat them.

Now Brandon’s devastated mother Dottie Payton has demanded the execution of the suspects as they appeared for their first court hearing on Thursday, July 23. The three accused reportedly appeared for their initial bond hearing virtually from the Frostproof’s South County Jail. Tony, who has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder, is being held on a $45,000 bond while his younger brother is being held on a $46,000 bond. The woman suspect, who has been charged with three counts of accessory to murder, is being held on a $45,000 bond.

“The death penalty is definitely our number one priority,” Payton said. “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,” she added, referring to Tony’s lengthy criminal history including 230 felonies. The distraught mother also remembered her son and said: “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.”

Brandon’s father, Cyril Rollins, was the first one who responded to the murder scene after his son called him for help. Speaking about the tragedy, Cyril said he keeps recalling his son’s final moments. “He could call anybody. 911, anything, but he didn’t cause he called me. He knew his daddy was gonna be here,” the heartbroken father said.

Along with Brandon’s family, his girlfriend Jessica Steenson also came to watch the hearing from outside the jail. “He was my best friend and I miss him so much. What I would do for just five more minutes with him on a boat trying to fight to catch a fish, about who was gonna catch the fish first. Take your time with your family and love every single second with them, if it’s good or bad, love the fights, love the laughs, because in the blink of an eye it can all be gone,” Steenson said.

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