Updated at 4:07 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 13, 2019, with more information.
While most court proceedings were canceled Friday due to a major water main break that affected a large portion of downtown Chattanooga and surrounding areas, the retrial of accused killer Tony Bigoms continued, at least in part.
Bigoms, 60, is accused in the 2012 killing and dismemberment of 48-year-old Dana Wilkes.
Wilkes was last seen alive near her home on Nov. 9. Her body — headless and handless — was found on Nov. 25 in the 3700 block of Youngstown Road.
Bigoms was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison, plus four years for abusing her corpse, in 2014. The following year, Bigoms asked for a new trial, with his attorneys arguing the first jury was influenced by forces outside the courtroom.
Then in June 2017, the Tennessee Criminal Court of Appeals reversed the judgment, citing issues with jury sequestration and the local judge's decision to allow testimony about a different 2006 slaying in which Bigoms was acquitted.
Now the new trial is in its fourth day and had a delayed start Friday morning. Judge Barry Steelman and attorneys had to coordinate how to accommodate the sequestered jurors who had been affected by the water outage.
The jurors were brought to the courtroom to hear testimony from two witnesses who had traveled from out of state.
The first, Patrick Dixon, was asked about his interactions with Bigoms in the days after Wilkes went missing.
Prosecutors asked him about a call he made to Bigoms in which he asked him if he'd seen or heard anything about Wilkes.
"He told me that he seen her last night — something about they went to Walmart and got groceries and they went back to her house, dropped the groceries off, and he went home," Dixon said.
After that call, Bigoms called Dixon back "a few times" asking if he'd heard anything else about Wilkes, Dixon said.
Prosecutors then asked if Dixon, at any point, called Bigoms or anyone else to say that Wilkes' body had been found with a slight pulse.
Dixon said no, he "didn't know anything had happened to her. I just [thought] she just missing. I didn't know if something physically had happened to her."
The next witness called to the stand was Ronald Witt, who works for T-Mobile producing records for law enforcement requests and regularly testifies in court to verify and attest to T-Mobile records.
Witt was asked questions about phone call and text message records from Bigoms' phone. Phone records showed a number of calls and their durations, but during cross examination, defense attorney Ted Engel pointed out that the duration isn't indicative of whether a human answered the phone. A call could have gone to voicemail. Witt verified Engel's argument.
That ended Friday's testimony. Steelman declared a recess until the water and related air conditioning issue was resolved. The trial was set to resume Saturday at 8:30 a.m.
Steelman reassured the sequestered jurors that he and others are doing all they can to accommodate them and get them back to their regular routines as soon as possible.
"I told you at the very beginning that we would be very considerate of the fact that you are sequestered from your normal lives and loved ones," he told jurors. "We'll update the officers as soon as we can relay any changes."