Suspects In FL Couple’s Death Tied To Drugs, Gang


Suspects in the shooting deaths of a Florida couple who adopted disabled children have ties to illegal drug activity and a gang, Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan told USA Today. Police have charged seven men with murder and one woman with aiding the men after the slayings. They have recovered a stolen safe and several guns, including one that police say was used to kill Melanie Billings, 43, and her husband, Byrd Billings, 66.

Prosecutor William Eddins said the case is a simple home invasion robbery that went bad. He said the case is ready to go before the grand jury, and he could seek the death penalty. Morgan compared the crime to the 1969 Tate-LaBianca murders in Los Angeles, committed by a cult led by Charles Manson, because it is unusual to have such a large group of people commit a crime together.

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