DICKSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — The man accused in the murder of Dickson County Sergeant Daniel Baker appeared in person in court Tuesday for the first time in about 2 years.
Steven Wiggins was escorted from the Robertson County Jail early Tuesday morning to the Dickson County courthouse by a number of THP troopers and chase vehicles.
Wiggins appeared plain clothed, a requirement for defendants in a death penalty case anytime they appear in the court. Wiggins wore a plaid shirt and a slight smile as he greeted his attorney.
Just feet away, Sgt. Baker’s widow and mother also sat in the courtroom wearing wristbands in honor of the fallen deputy.
Wiggins’ presence evoked some emotion not only for the victims, but also for Dickson County deputies in the courtroom as Wiggins is accused in the violent, disturbing murder of Sgt. Baker three years ago.
Judge David Wolfe wrapped up several motions ahead of the death penalty trial, set for late July.
Among the motions, he addressed that there will be emotional evidence in the case and the concern for out breaks or emotions being displayed in the courtroom. Judge Wolfe also saying law enforcement that attends the trial can’t wear uniforms.
“(We) can’t have a courtroom full of people who are advocating one side or another, and what they are wearing and badges or buttons or any such thing as that, and as unfair as that may seem, it’s still intended to preserve the integrity and the impartiality of the jury as they begin their hearing of the evidence,” said Judge Wolfe.
We also learned about some of the witnesses the defense plans to call at trial. The judge listing six witnesses, many psychiatrists with plans to discuss childhood trauma, abuse, and effects. The defense also planning to analyze MRI’s, scans of the defendant’s brain with expert witnesses.
Attorneys for Wiggins again tried to restrict questioning of the state’s mental expert witness. The judge, however, stuck with his ruling.
“When you have an expert that’s going to testify about childhood trauma to claim the psychological effect on Mr. Wiggins, then clearly the state’s expert is entitled to know what that alleged childhood trauma is in order to form their own opinions. I don’t know how that could be anything but necessary and reasonable, and it requires the cooperation of the state and defense to obtain that,” Judge Wolfe explained.
Steven Wiggins trial is set for July 26. The state plans to seek the death penalty.