The killings of Melanie and Byrd Billings near Pensacola, Fl., are attracting worldwide media attention, says the Pensacola News Journal. That is because the story involves wealth, intrigue, children at risk, uncertain motives, and a team of killers who worked with “military precision,” in the words of Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan. He has been interviewed by the three major network’s morning news programs and fielded interview requests from Oprah Winfrey, “Dateline NBC” and news organizations as far away as Sweden and Poland.
“If you’re a crime reporter, this has got it all,” said Bruce Swain, a journalism professor at the University of West Florida. “You may have had 10 other murders (in Escambia County this year) but how many involve people who at some point were caring for (17) kids, and living in a spacious home in an isolated area, and involving people entering the house, and leaving with great precision?” A group of seven, possibly eight, people trained together – some for up to 30 days – to stage a military-style assault on the Billingses’ home to steal a safe.