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Tennessee jury hands down death penalty for murder of deputy

Tennessee jury hands down death penalty for murder of deputy
Steven Wiggins was convicted of murdering Dickson County Sheriff's Sgt. Daniel Baker in 2018. File Photo courtesy Tennessee Bureau of Investigation

Aug. 13 (UPI) -- A Tennessee jury has handed down a death sentence to a man convicted of murdering a Dickson County sheriff's deputy.

Steven Wiggins, 34, received the death penalty for the death of Sgt. Daniel Baker after a weeklong sentencing hearing in Dickson County Circuit Court, WSMV-TV reported.

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The jury found him guilty of premeditated first-degree murder, first-degree felony murder, theft of property, criminal impersonation, filing a false report, arson and abuse of a corpse Aug. 5.

In closing arguments Thursday, defense attorney Luke Evans asked the jury to spare this client, saying they should consider that he was abused by his father and doctor reports saying he wasn't operating with a "fully-functioning brain," the Tennessean reported.

"The truth of the matter is that man never had a chance," Evans said of Wiggins.

District Attorney Ray Crouch said Wiggins had been living away from his father for years and there was no excuse for the murder.

"Seventeen years went by before the defendant murdered in cold blood Sgt. Daniel Baker," Crouch said. "It's about what Steven Wiggins did ... today, here, now with people in this courtroom suffering from it."

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Police arrested Wiggins in June 2018 after a two-day manhunt. Baker was found dead of a gunshot wound in his vehicle in a wooded area after he failed to report while checking a suspicious vehicle.

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