Just Another Guy with Opinions

7 Arrested in Billings Murders

Posted by shadmia on July 15, 2009

Florida Couple SlainFamilyAshley Markham

Byrd Billings, 66, and his 43-year-old wife, Melanie, were both shot and killed in their home. 7 suspects have been arrested in what is considered to be a home invasion/robbery in Escambia County, Florida.

The Billings were the parents of 16 children, 12 of whom had been adopted, with ages ranging from an infant to 11 years old. Many of  them had disabilities. Eight of the children were in the house at the time of the murders but had not been physically harmed.

The Billings were wealthy. They owned several local businesses and had been noted for their generosity taking in children with disabilities and from troubled backgrounds.

“They were very good people. I don’t know what’s going to happen to those children,” said Nancy Markham, the mother-in-law of one of the grown children.

Due to the aid of surveillance cameras on the property police were able to identify and locate a red van used in the operation. They quickly arrested four men: Leonard P. Gonzalez Sr., 56, Leonard P. Gonzalez Jr., 35, Wayne Coldiron, 41, and Gary Lamont Sumner Jr., 31.

Fredrick ThorntonDonald StallworthRakeem Florence

After the 4 arrests the police were still looking for three more suspects which they eventually found: 28-year-old Donald Stallworth, 19-year-old Fredrick Thornton and 16-year-old Rakeem Chavez Florence.

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