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'No evidence' connects handyman to murder of Fernandina Beach dog sitter, attorneys claim

New motion says evidence supports the "lack of guilt and actual innocence" of man charged with murdering Fernandina Beach pet sitter.

NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. — * The above video was originally published Dec. 17, 2021.

A man charged with first degree murder in the slaying of a 73-year-old Fernandina Beach dog sitter should be released on bond, his attorneys say, because no evidence links him to the crime.

A new motion filed by attorneys for Shawn Whigham says, “there has been a significant and material change in circumstances surrounding [the] case,” including the results of what they say is exculpatory fingerprint, shoe impression, DNA and ballistics evidence collected at the scene.

“Laboratory analysis and comparison testing has revealed that the defendant’s DNA was not found at the scene of the death, nor was it found on the victim’s vehicle…” the motion says. “Shoe impressions collected at the scene do not match any shoes taken from the defendant. Spent bullet shell casings found at the scene do not match the firearms seized from the defendant’s home and no murder weapon has ever been located.”

“In short,” the motion continues, “there is NO physical, forensic, digital, direct, circumstantial or eyewitness evidence connecting the defendant to the murder of Colleen Potts.”

The motion says because the “evidence … tends to establish the defendant’s lack of guilt and actual innocence” the court should set bond “in the amount this insolvent defendant can afford to post.”

Colleen Potts was found dead at a home where she was pet sitting, on South 13th Street in Fernandina Beach, on Oct. 24, 2021. Officials said there was no sign of a struggle, and the dogs guarding the house when officers arrived were uninjured and still inside the home. Police say Whigham, 47, previously worked as a handyman for the home’s owner. They believe he  broke into Potts’ car the night before her murder and say that her purse was missing from the home when she was found.

Whigham is charged with first degree murder, armed burglary and armed assault. He has pleaded not guilty.

He was previously convicted of and delivery of cocaine.

First Coast News reached out for comment from the 7th district State Attorney’s Office, which is handling the case, and will update this story if they respond. The judge is scheduled to hear the motion to reduce bond at a hearing on May 3.

Credit: Fernandina Beach Police Department
Fernandina resident, Shawn Lamont Wigham, has been arrested in connection to the death of 73-year-old Colleen Marie Potts.


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