Husband charged with March murder of Oregon assistant dean of Education

Springfield police arrested and charged 61-year-old William Murray Wiggins with the murder of his wife, former College of Education Assistant Dean Andrea Wiggins.

On March 5 at 11 p.m., Wiggins made a 9-1-1 emergency call stating that he had discovered his wife dead in the hot tub outside of their home. An autopsy completed three days later, however, concluded that the wife had died from strangulation and drowning. Although authorities immediately suspected foul play, they began a months-long effort to find evidence and conduct interviews, which eventually lead to Wiggins’ arrest.

Springfield Police Sgt. David Lewis said that investigators have established a motive for the killing but would not provide specifics, stating that the couple, who had been married for more than 13 years, had “some typical marital disagreements” of a “financial and motivational” nature. Lewis also confirmed that authorities suspect Wiggins did not use any tools or implements during the alleged incident and instead killed his wife with his bare hands.

“I personally don’t think he had anything to do with Andrea Wiggins’ death,” Wiggins’ friend and neighbor Warren Strode said to the Register-Guard. “I never heard a cross word between them. He adored the ground she walked on.”

The will of Andrea Wiggins, established in 2008, which lists her son, Alex Vollmer of Seattle, as the beneficiary of her estate, indicates that she was the sole owner of the Springfield home shared by the couple and that, in the event of her death, her husband would be permitted to stay in the home as long as he had not remarried. If not, ownership of the house would again go to her son, Alex, who expressed his level of shock at the indictment of his stepfather as like “a lightning bolt out of the blue.”

In an appearance before the Lane County Circuit Court on Friday, Wiggins pleaded not guilty to the murder charges and is currently being held in Lane County Jail awaiting trial.

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