Three more arrests in connection with killing of wealthy couple

By Calvin Palmer

Three more people were arrested today in connection with the killing of a wealthy Florida couple known for adopting special-needs children.

Melanie and Byrd Billings were shot to death on Thursday in their home near Pensacola during a precisely executed break-in.

Prosecutor Bill Eddins said the main motive was robbery and revealed for the first time that a safe was among items taken from the couple’s sprawling nine-bedroom home.

Police arrested an unidentified juvenile; Frederick Lee Thorton Jr, 19; and Donnie Ray Stallworth, 28. Stallworth was arrested in Alabama but lives in Florida.

Gary Lamont Sumner, 31, was arrested on a murder charge yesterday after he was pulled over in a traffic stop.

They join Leonard P. Gonzalez Jr, 35, and Wayne Coldiron, 41, who were arrested and charged with murder on Sunday.

Leonard P. Gonzalez Sr, 56, was also held on Sunday on a charge of evidence tampering.

Surveillance video at the house showed three armed, masked men arriving in the red van, entering through the front of the house and then returning to the vehicle.

Others dressed in “ninja garb” went in through an unlocked utility door in the back. They were in and out in under 10 minutes.

Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said: We have a team that enters at the rear of the home and another that enters at the front of the home. It leads me to believe this was a very well-planned and methodical operation.”

Byrd Billings, 68, and Melanie, 43, owned several local businesses, including a finance company and a used car dealership.

They lived in Beulah, a rural area west of Pensacola, near the Alabama state line, in a house set deep in the woods. They had 17 children, 13 of them were  adopted.

[Based on a report by the Associated Press.]

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2 responses to “Three more arrests in connection with killing of wealthy couple

  1. Joeyusa

    Give these Animals DEATH – Bring back the HANGMAN-

    • Mama Dilf

      Two wrongs do NOT make a right. Becareful of your words…for you do not know all the specific details…you were not there. Yes, this is very tragic and yes, I feel you should hate them if you wish. But killing them will not make anything right or justified. They are not animals…at least, not ALL of them. Whomever fired the gun…yes. As for the others, no. Sinners, yes. And God will give them what they deserve. But our God is also a Forgiving God. Death will not bring back the victims.

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