Wilco man sentenced in the murder case of Milledgeville man


Christopher Tiggs will spend the next 28-plus years in state prison.

Tiggs, now 32, accepted a plea deal last Friday at the Wilkinson County Courthouse in Irwinton. Tiggs, represented by prominent attorney Carl Cansino, had been scheduled to go to trial this month. In the end, however, Tiggs opted for a plea deal of 30 years behind bars and 10 more on probation. He'll receive credit for "time served" since March 2021, which is when he was arrested and booked at the county jail.

The plea deal was accompanied by "a defense of insanity and mental illness," which the District Attorney's Office previously agreed to.

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The sentence stems from a March 23 shooting death in the 230 block of Lakeshore Drive in Ivey. Tiggs unloaded multiple rounds from his .9 millimeter handgun at close range, striking David Wesley Lawson multiple times, according to the arrest warrant. Tiggs was standing in his front yard, while Lawson was sitting inside of his car. 

Haley Phillips, who was Lawson's fiance as well as the mother of his children, called the incident "completely senseless." Phillips added that last week's sentence "hasn't brought any closure" and that the sentence was too light.

"I feel as if (Tiggs) will get a second chance at life, but Wes will not," she told The Times Journal Post. "Wes was a great friend and a great man. I still miss him every day."

Phillips added that her children "still have nightmares" and "will never completely get over this."

Tiggs and Lawson were close friends, which has made the entire tragedy even more difficult for Phillips.

"The whole thing started after they were arguing about whose friends' four-wheeler was the fastest," Phillips said. "That's how pointless the whole thing was."

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Technically, the plea deal was broken down into two parts. The felony murder charge and aggravated assault charge were "nol prossed" or essentially dropped, while Tiggs pleaded "guilty but mentally ill" to voluntary manslaugther in lieu of the malice murder charge. For the manslaughter charge, Tiggs was sentenced to 20 years behind bars. In part two of the plea deal, Tiggs received 10 years behind bars and 10 on probation for felony obstruction of an officer and criminal interference with government property, which occurred following the arrest, when Tiggs reportedly caused a scene at the county jail and damaged a security camera and sprinkler head.

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