published Thursday, January 17th, 2013

Suspect indicted on murder count

A man who was acquitted of murdering a prostitute a decade ago now faces a new murder charge in the killing and dismembering of a 48-year-old woman who went missing in November.

Tony Bigoms Jr., 53, is charged with first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse after police linked him to the slaying of 48-year-old Dana Wilkes.

A Hamilton County grand jury indicted him Wednesday.

Bigoms was a friend of Wilkes' husband, Tom Wilkes.

Tom Wilkes was locked up at the Hamilton County Jail on a driving violation in October, about a month before his wife went missing.

In a jailhouse interview, he told reporters he believed Bigoms had something to do with his wife's death. While he was friends with Bigoms for 20 years, he knew of the man's violent past.

"I'm thinking he probably tricked her or some kind of way got her to come out because she trusted him," Wilkes said in the interview.

Dana Wilkes was reported missing Nov. 10 after she failed to show up for work at the Dialysis Clinic Inc. on East Third Street. She worked for the company for 14 years.

Her car, a Jeep Cherokee, was found on Wilcox Boulevard with blood splatter in it. Police believe she was killed and then her body was dumped along the creek bank at 3700 Youngstown Road with her head and hands missing.

She was found Nov. 25. Her head and hands never were found.

Authorities believe she died from blunt force trauma. A medical examiner's report still is pending, along with DNA results.

Bigoms was acquitted by a jury in 2006 for the death of Dinah Burney. Her body also was dumped after she was strangled.

Bigoms' DNA was found in Burney's mouth, beneath her fingernails and on a sock tied around her neck. Her hands were bound behind her back with wire.

Bigoms was convicted of sexual battery in a separate 2007 case and received an eight-year sentence. Bigoms held a knife to the woman's neck to force her to perform oral sex, courts records show. He paused when he thought he heard someone in the house and she managed to escape.

He also has convictions for robbery and burglary, according to newspaper archives.

There is no indication that Wilkes was sexually assaulted, according to authorities.

Bigoms was arrested at his home without incident. He remained in jail on a $100,000 bond Wednesday evening. His next court date is set for Jan. 28 before Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman.

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