Tony Bigoms, 54, right, is led into the courtroom during jury selection for his first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse trial in the November 2012 slaying of Dana Wilkes.
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
UPDATE: The man charged with killing a woman five years ago has a new trial date.
Tony Bigoms will go to trial for a second time in November.
Dana Wilkes had been missing for weeks when her dismembered body was found off Youngstown Road in 2012.
Two years later a jury found Tony Bigoms guilty of her murder. But earlier this year the state court of appeals ruled that Bigoms could get another trial.
A ruling notes the jury was able to go home unattended to pack after being sequestered and make phone calls without officers knowing what they discussed.
Bigoms' new trial is set for November 1st.
PREVIOUS STORY: The man guilty of killing and dismembering a Chattanooga dialysis worker was sentenced Tuesday. Tony Bigoms is spending the rest of his life behind bars for the November 2012 murder of 48-year-old Dana Wilkes.
Judge Barry Steelman added four additional years to Bigoms' life sentence during Tuesday's sentencing hearing. Bigoms did not testify or address Wilkes' family, and showed no remorse during the hearing. He stayed leaned back in his chair, and even smiled during some of it.
Bigoms, 55, is convicted of first degree murder and abuse of a corpse. A jury found him guilty in April of this year for killing Wilkes and dismembering her body.
Wilkes was missing for two weeks before her remains were found along a creek bed on Youngstown Road nearly two years ago.
Amy Yates confronted her sister's convicted killer face-to-face in the courtroom.
"I have endured sleepless nights, sick and physically ill with mental images of Tony Bigoms leaning over my tiny sister, probably sweating, while sawing off her head," Yates said.
Bigoms was a friend of Wilkes' husband, Tom. He was the last person seen with Wilkes. In the weeks leading up to her murder, Bigoms called Wilkes constantly. But as soon as she went missing --- he stopped. Bigoms' DNA was detected on Wilkes' bra, which was found near her remains.
Just two days before her murder, Wilkes told her family that she was afraid of Bigoms.
"I googled Tony Bigoms. I saw your mug shot. I saw your face, burned into my brain... and I knew," Yates said.
In 2007, Bigoms was sentenced to eight years for attempted aggravated sexual battery, but got out of jail early.
He was acquitted of another woman's murder, Dinah Burney, in 2006. Burney's body was disposed on Caine Lane, which is the same side of town Wilkes' body was dumped. Bigoms' dna was inside Burney's mouth and underneath her fingernails.
"He knew he couldn't leave his DNA on Dana's head or hands," Yates said, "so he chose to dismember Dana and get rid of the evidence."
"It's a horrific act," said Judge Barry Steelman.
Steelman said he hasn't heard of such a heinous act in his 20 year career, and handed Bigoms four additional years to serve on top of his life sentence.
"I can't recall a case where someone has sawed off the head or hands of another," Steelman said.
Bigoms' public defenders do plan to appeal, but no word on when they will file it.
"You may have taken her life, but you will never extinguish her light," Yates said.
PREVIOUS STORY: Tony Bigoms was charged and convicted with first degree murder and abuse of the corpse.
Investigators say he killed and dismembered Dana Wilkes' body in November 2012. Court records showed Bigoms was on parole at the time of the murder.
Channel 3 Eyewitness News reporter Sara Sidery is covering the case, and tweeting live from the courtroom. Follow her on Twitter @SaraSideryWRCB.
Bigoms, who has already been sentenced to life for the murder of Dana Wilkes, will be sentenced Tuesday for the second charge of abuse of a corpse.
Wilkes' decapitated and mutilated body was found near a waterway in Chattanooga in 2012.
Sunday, January 21 2018 12:50 AM EST2018-01-21 05:50:24 GMT
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