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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Tennessee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 8, 2018

U.S. Attorney and District Attorney General Announce Federal and State Charges Related To Death of Dickson County Sheriff's Deputy

In a joint announcement, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and U.S. Attorney Don Cochran announced federal charges against Steven J. Wiggins, 31, of Dickson, Tennessee, following an announcement by District Attorney General Ray Crouch that Wiggins, along with Erika Castro-Miles, 38, also of Dickson, had been indicted for the murder of Dickson County Sheriff’s Sergeant Daniel Baker.

Wiggins was charged in a criminal complaint yesterday afternoon with violations of four federal statutes, including carjacking resulting in the death of Sergeant Baker.  The criminal complaint also charges Wiggins with using, carrying and discharging a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence; being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm; and using, carrying and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence, which resulted in the death of another person.

“At the Department of Justice, we back the women and men in blue. Violence against law enforcement officers – federal, state, local or tribal – will not be tolerated,” said Attorney General Sessions. “Sergeant Daniel Baker served our country and the people of Tennessee faithfully and honorably, first as a Marine and then as a member of the Dickson County Sheriff’s Office, before he was killed in the line of duty.  The Department of Justice will hold those responsible for his murder accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”

U.S. Attorney Don Cochran, joined by District Attorney General Ray Crouch; Dickson County Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe; and the leadership of local, state and federal law enforcement, made a joint announcement of state and federal charges at a morning news conference in Dickson, Tennessee.

“We stand here in absolute solidarity to say to anyone who commits an act of violence against a law enforcement officer, particularly if you kill or seriously injure one of our men and women in blue, you will face the full force and effect of our justice system and we will be unrelenting in our unified efforts to bring you to justice – just as we have done here,” said U.S. Attorney Cochran.

District Attorney General Ray Crouch announced that a grand jury in Dickson, Tennessee had returned indictments on Wednesday, charging Steven Wiggins and Erika Castro-Miles with the murder of Sergeant Daniel Baker.  U.S. Attorney Don Cochran then announced the federal charges brought yesterday against Steven Wiggins. 

“Yesterday, a Dickson County grand jury, sitting in special session, returned indictments charging Steven Wiggins and Erika Castro-Miles with the willful and premeditated murder of Sergeant Daniel Baker,” said District Attorney General Ray Crouch.  “I look forward to seeking justice on behalf of his family and this community.”  I am grateful for the support of the United States Attorney and will work with all of our partners at every level until justice is achieved.”  

The complaint alleges that on May 30, 2018, Sergeant Daniel Baker responded to a suspicious vehicle call in Dickson County, Tennessee.  Upon arrival, Sergeant Baker encountered two individuals in a vehicle, later identified as Steven J. Wiggins, the driver, and Erika Castro-Miles, the front passenger. The vehicle had a flat tire and was not drivable.  Sergeant Baker subsequently determined that the vehicle had been stolen and ordered both occupants out of the car.  Wiggins then claimed his door would not open and Sergeant Baker ordered him to exit from the passenger side.  According to the body cam video recovered from Sergeant Baker, he then walked around the rear of the vehicle to the passenger side, at which time Wiggins initially fired approximately five rounds from a .45 caliber pistol, Sergeant Baker was struck by at least one of those rounds and attempted to take cover before collapsing several yards away.  While Sergeant Baker was lying wounded on the ground, Wiggins fired five additional rounds, the last three appearing to have been fired at close range.  Initial autopsy findings showed that Sergeant Baker suffered six gunshot wounds; two to his torso; one to his hand and three to the left side of his head.

The complaint also alleges that after shooting Sergeant Baker, Wiggins re-positioned Baker’s patrol car and dragged Sergeant Baker’s body to the car and placed it in the rear seat and drove away.  Wiggins then drove the patrol vehicle three to four miles away and into a field near the intersection of Bear Creek Valley Road and Byrd Road, in Dickson County, where he set a fire inside the vehicle and left the scene.

The complaint further alleges that at the time Wiggins was captured by the Tennessee Highway Patrol on June 1, 2018, his backpack contained a .45 caliber pistol and a Glock pistol. 

Subsequent investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the ATF determined that shell casings found at the scene where Sergeant Baker was shot matched the .45 caliber weapon and that the Glock recovered from Wiggins’ backpack had been previously purchased by Sergeant Baker’s wife.  

Finally, the complaint alleges that Wiggins had previously been convicted of aggravated assault, a Class C felony, in December 2017 in Williamson County, Tennessee, and had previously been convicted of domestic violence in Dickson County, Tennessee, in 2009.  Each of these convictions prohibits Wiggins from possessing a firearm.

U.S. Attorney Cochran praised the work of the Dickson County Sheriff’s Department, District Attorney General Ray Crouch; the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation; the ATF; the Tennessee Highway Patrol; the FBI; and the numerous local, state and federal agencies who participated in the investigation, search and ultimate capture of Wiggins.  U.S. Attorney Cochran and Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert McGuire are prosecuting the case.

A criminal complaint is merely an accusation.  The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Contact: 
David Boling Public Information Officer 615-736-5956 David.Boling2@usdoj.gov
Updated June 8, 2018