DICKSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — A shift took place in the courtroom Monday for Steven Wiggins as all eyes are now on his life while it lies on the line.
Monday marked day two of the penalty phase after Wiggins was found guilty on all 10 charges in the death of Dickson County Sergeant Daniel Baker.
The defense took a deep dive into Wiggins’ family history that they said is filled with sexual assaults and physical abuse.
The state, on the other hand, played a disturbing phone call recorded from jail between the defendant and his son. In the call you hear Wiggins’ son, who is now 10-years-old, tell his father that his mom is pregnant. Wiggins then responded, “kick her in the stomach.”
The state trying to prove Wiggins deserves the death penalty, while the defense hopes for life without parole.
Violent and terrifying is how attorneys for Wiggins described his father, who they said abused him while he was still in his mother’s womb.
“Steven Wiggins’ mother was severely beaten by his father while she was pregnant with Steven. Steven started getting beaten by his father before he ever came out of the womb and he was born with a damaged brain. He has a hole in his brain, he has dead brain matter and you’re going to see and hear evidence of that during this trial,” Defense Attorney David Hopkins told the jurors.
The defense showed images of Wiggins’ brain reflecting damage, they said was from that abuse that allegedly lasted for more than a decade. The prosecution questioned the tests done more than a year after Wiggins committed the murder, pointing to chronic meth use and medication possibly hindering the results.
For about an hour and a half Monday afternoon we heard from a mitigation investigator who walked us through Wiggins’ family tree dating back as early as the 1900s. He painted a picture of poverty, abuse, and rape among family members.
“He was born into a violent almost unspeakable environment with the organic brain damage on top of that, there was severe physical sexual emotional abuse inflicted by Steven’s father and again not talking about excuses for behavior these are things you have to give meaningful consideration to in deciding what’s appropriate here,” said Hopkins.
All 12 jurors will have to agree in order for Wiggins to get the death penalty.