published Monday, August 26th, 2013

Chattanooga: Bond reduced in mutilation homicide

A man accused of killing a woman and later mutilating her body by removing her head and hands last year had his bond reduced to $40,000 by a Hamilton County criminal court judge this afternoon.

Tony Edward Bigoms, Jr. faces charges of first-degree murder, abuse of a corpse and violating conditions outlined in prior conviction of attempted aggravated sexual battery which placed him on community supervision for life. Prior to a bond reduction hearing, Bigoms was being held on a $250,000 bond.

Steven Brown, assistant district public defender representing Bigoms, argued no concrete evidence tied Bigoms to killing 48-year-old Dana Wilkes. Wilkes was reported missing Nov. 10, 2012 when she didn’t show up for work. Her body was found Nov. 25 near Youngstown Road by duck hunters in a boat who spotted her partially clothed body on the bank. Her head and hands, along with part of her forearms, were severed from her body.

The condition of her body made it so forensic pathologists could not determine how she died.

Prosecutor Neal Pinkston pointed out that Bigoms was acquitted in another homicide case in 2006 after Dinah Burney was found dead on Caine Avenue. Bigoms’ DNA was found beneath her fingernails and in her mouth. He also noted that DNA evidence testing by TBI did not exclude Bigoms as a suspect.

Wilkes’ head and hands were never recovered.

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