CHARLOTTE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Steven Wiggins and Erika Castro-Miles, the two people accused in the fatal shooting of Dickson County Sgt. Daniel Baker, appeared in court Tuesday afternoon where testimony revealed new details in the case.
Wiggins was transported to the Charlotte courthouse from Nashville where he is being jailed prior to the 2 p.m. hearing.
Wiggins was dressed in a yellow jumpsuit, a bulletproof vest and Sgt. Baker’s handcuffs as he arrived at the courthouse ahead of the hearing.
When he appeared in court a short time later, he was dressed in a blue shirt and khaki pants.
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Wiggins was seen looking toward Sgt. Baker’s family, who was sitting on the opposite side of the courtroom. Castro-Miles was sitting in front of Sgt. Baker’s family. As testimony began, Wiggins watched quietly, while Castro-Miles, dressed in a white jumpsuit and a bulletproof vest had her head bowed.
Nathan Neese, a special agent for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, was the first person to testify.
He spoke about responding to the Midtown Inn and Suites in Kingston Springs, where Wiggins and Castro-Miles stayed on May 29 – the day before Sgt. Baker was killed.
While at the hotel, Wiggins allegedly held a gun to Castro-Miles’ head and stole her car. Two arrest warrants for aggravated assault and theft were then issued against Wiggins.
Wiggins later returned to the hotel and Castro-Miles left with him. The two then went to Auto Zone, Ross, Dollar General and Walmart, according to testimony.
The agent said the night before Sgt. Baker was shot and killed, Castro-Miles and Wiggins made two different drug transactions. The final transaction occurred after 10 p.m. on May 29.
At around 6 a.m. on May 30, Sgt. Baker responded to a call about a suspicious vehicle on Sam Vineyard Road.
Body cam footage of Sgt. Baker responding to the call was shown in the courtroom. Much of Baker’s family stepped out of the courtroom while the 19-minute video was shown. His wife, Lisa, stayed in the courtroom during the video’s duration.
The video showed Baker radioing in the tag number and telling Wiggins multiple times to get out of the car.
Sgt. Baker raised his voice after he demanded him to get out of the car several times, saying, “Open the door!”
Wiggins told Baker multiple times before shots were fired that the car door was “messed up.” A TBI agent testified the door worked fine and that Wiggins had locked it.
Shots were fired just a couple of minutes later as Baker walked around to the passenger side of the car, according to the video. The video captured Baker running away, him falling to the ground and struggling to breathe. At least seven to eight shots were fired.
Baker’s wife, Lisa, remained stone-faced during the first several minutes of the body cam. She was later seen crying silently, along with other family members as the testimony continued. .
An autopsy showed Baker suffered six gunshot wounds – two to his torso, one to his hand and three to the side of his head. Testimony revealed he was shot in close range and that Baker was not wearing a bulletproof vest at the time.
According to the TBI agent’s testimony, Wiggins reportedly said about Baker’s shooting death, “It was like a dog and he didn’t want him to suffer.”
At some point after the shooting, Baker was placed in the back seat of his own patrol car.
A TBI agent said shortly after the shooting, Wiggins pretended to be Sgt. Baker as he drove away in his patrol car with the sergeant’s body in the back, telling dispatch, “I’m good.”
The agent said Baker’s uniform was found burned and a separate fire was set in the front seat of the patrol car.
Wiggins was taken into custody on June 1 after a massive manhunt.
His lawyer argued during the preliminary hearing that his client had been awake for 10 days and high on meth at the time.
Wiggins was taken to a local hospital for treatment after his arrest on the morning of June 1. His attorney argued he was sleep-deprived and hungry.
The TBI agent said Wiggins was not interviewed until after he slept, been fed and given medical treatment. He added Wiggins was read his Miranda rights and that he spoke willingly.
An attorney for Castro-Miles argued that his client should be tried separately from Wiggins. Another hearing will be set for her to try to sever the cases.
The judge in the case said he does not need to find probable cause since Wiggins and Castro-Miles have already been indicted.
The case was not bound over to the grand jury and the judge decided the case will be sent back to circuit court.
Wiggins and Castro-Miles will return to Nashville where they will remain jailed.
Dickson County Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe called Sgt. Baker one of his “best deputies.”
“… He’s one of the ones who put it on the line every day to keep our community safe,” Sheriff Bledsoe said.