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July 15th, 2009
09:51 PM ET

Live Blog from the anchor desk 7/15/09

Tonight we’re following the latest in the double-murder of Melanie and Byrd Billings, a Florida couple known in their community for adopting special-needs children. The Billings were shot to death in their nine-bedroom home last week. The investigation has been heating up.

Want to know what else we're covering tonight? Read EVENING BUZZ

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Filed under: Live Blog • T1
soundoff (283 Responses)
  1. Jeannette - N.Y.

    Anderson, I do want to thank you for being compassionate toward all the stories you covered this week ... I do not know how you sleep at night with all these images and questions on your mind ... I sit here and my eyes well up on all this sad news about Florida ... Michael Jackson's passing and now the custody battle over his children and his family members trying to profit from his death ... It is sickening ...

    July 15, 2009 at 10:41 pm |
  2. Isabel• Brazil •

    This accident was terrible. The images are strong.

    MJ must have suffered a lot. Does your life have been different if the accident had not occurred?

    July 15, 2009 at 10:41 pm |
  3. Chris

    Also, the sheriff mentioned the IRS was involved. Why would the IRS care about whether murderers pay their taxes? That is strange.

    July 15, 2009 at 10:41 pm |
  4. Jolene, St. Joseph, MI

    I remember the Pepsi commercial incident with MJ but had no idea how intense the fire was. That video was scary to watch. I often wonder why these things come out after the person dies....

    July 15, 2009 at 10:41 pm |
  5. Megan Dresslar - Shoreline, WA

    Anderson,
    Nope, I am not sure for daughter and children who feel lost their parents, It is really hard to see this. I felt bad for their daughter and 16 children. Also I am disable too.

    July 15, 2009 at 10:41 pm |
  6. Jules, La

    What a terrible video to view Michael Jackson with his hair on fire. I remember back in '84 when that commercial was being made for the Jackson Victory tour. Through it all, Michael kept his gloves on. What a showman!

    July 15, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  7. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    I'm sure MJ's burns were very painful, but millions have very painful medical situations and procedures, get prescription pain killers, and don't let themselves get addicted. I speak from personal experience.

    July 15, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  8. sharon, sydney, ns

    Loving, Jeffry Toobin!!!! A lawyer I can actually believe!! He never says something is absolute without knowing it is. He knows how to peel back the layers in a way that everyone sees all sides.

    July 15, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  9. BettyAnn,Nacogdoches,TX

    Oh Gosh, it makes me sick that Mj's own family is exploiting his death. Just sick~

    July 15, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  10. Roy Hagemyer

    I am sorry, but I was severely burned within the last year, and I am not addicted to any pain killers! The pain subsides after a day or two, and no pain killers are required. Don't go there, you are treading on thin ice, and that is not what caused him to be addicted to pain killers. Unless he wanted to be and had help getting the drugs!

    July 15, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  11. cristy kirssin

    It's crazy to believe that one of Michael Jackson's largest professional moments early on -Pepsi was also his downfall all at the same time...

    July 15, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  12. Jasmine

    Toobin is right, Lah Toya doesn't make a lot of sense.....

    July 15, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  13. Oluseyi Agboola, Baltimore,MD

    I am glad that these heartless people are swiftly arrested and I hope all potential criminals in this society will have a rethink about their nefarious activities because unknown to them there are extensive security measures in place that will make it virtually impossible for them to get away . Hell is waiting for these criminals.

    July 15, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  14. Angela

    Oh and Hi Anderson and good evening everyone =)

    July 15, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  15. Joe from Oshawa, Ont., Canada

    What year, or better yet what date, did the Pepsi fire happen?

    July 15, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  16. Kelly - Harrisburg, PA

    Man, I remember people (including me) making jokes about Michael's hair catching fire when it happened. I'm horrified.

    July 15, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  17. Megan Dresslar - Shoreline, WA

    Wow! That's so scary to see Michael's face and hair burned!!!! This is first time to see this video.

    July 15, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  18. Jacqueline, NY

    I remember that day like yesterday. I felt so badly and afraid for him.

    July 15, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  19. Lisa fl

    This is a horrible thing that happened to this family and my prays go out to them. My kids took a self defence class and this really makes you think about people. I really hope these thugs go away for a long time. Pensacola is a great place to live and this really bothers me. Thank you for what you do Anderson...

    July 15, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  20. Nina

    I never knew MJ was burned that badly once..

    July 15, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  21. Sandi

    I had heard that a few years ago an article was written in a well known magazine about Melanie and Byrd Billings and their wonderful family, identifying them as extremely wealthy possibly using the term millionaires. I was wondering if it is thought this could have led to the plan to rob from them.

    July 15, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  22. Jasmine

    oh "that pepsi commercial" always wanted to see the video....crazy crazy stuff.... 😮

    July 15, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  23. Minou, New York City

    OMG! His entire head was on fire! I can't believe he didn't feel it right away. Poor Michael!

    July 15, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  24. Jolene, St. Joseph, MI

    Wow, great ending to Joe John's report. Loved how he referenced both "white" houses in Michelle's heritage....

    July 15, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  25. Lori from IL

    Anderson - looking forward to tomorrow night's report on people reconnecting to their African heritage.... Have really enjoyed all the stories/interviews from your trip this week....great job!

    July 15, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  26. Heather - Spokane, WA

    Its really interesting to get you family's history. My great aunt on my father's side had it done for my family and she found out some really fascinating things about my great relatives.

    July 15, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  27. Dulcie - Denver

    Excellent interview with the Sheriff in Florida. He comes across extremely competent and as an excellent public servant. It always makes me feel a little safer knowing there are good officers serving our communities.

    Have to say that I've always had a very good impression of my local sheriff's deputies as well. Good men and women.

    I'll add my voice to others here. I find it implausible that that many people would conspire to simply steal that safe. What could possibly be in it that would be worth it to split that many ways? There's got to be more to this story.

    July 15, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  28. Rafael Bronx,NY

    Michelle Obama family history is so interesting.

    July 15, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  29. kacy

    just wanted to say this is my first time here and i find it amazing that someone can kill anyone for any reason ( except self defence ). the saddness the killers have cause those children that were saved by two wonderful people that wanted to give those children a better life. my prayers go out to each and everyone of those children. thanks for having me.

    July 15, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  30. Lori

    Who built Cape Coast? and How?

    July 15, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  31. Michelle D . Fonthill. Ont

    Thanks for telling Michelle's stroy about her roots and her geneology .I look forward to interview .

    July 15, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  32. Tiffany in Denver

    I am in awe over the 1st African American President of the United States walking in the same path as slaves. It’s a reminder of the horrors humans are capable of....and such wonders. We collectively as Americans should be proud, regardless of whom you voted for.

    July 15, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  33. BettyAnn,Nacogdoches,TX

    @Anderson Your point about the White House being built partially by slaves gave me chills knowing Michele's ancestors were slaves. Thanks

    July 15, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  34. John

    I belive that the murder was because theire was a hit on the parnets. So the reasen why you con't fined the person for the secroity is they killed her/him. Because it was more money for them selfs. That is why they toke the safe.

    July 15, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  35. Maureen T, Canada

    "You belong here..."now that is powerful stuff and very emotional, very emotional...

    July 15, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  36. cristy kirssin

    I am still mourning Michael Jackson's loss....It really "woke" me up in appreciating life everyday...

    July 15, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  37. Niwat, Chicago

    it's heartbreaking that the fla.couple's children with special needs had been left orphaned after having been adopted and been well-taken care of.

    July 15, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  38. sharon, sydney, ns

    Man, Anderson, I envy you your job. The places you get to go, the people you get to speak with. That interview tomorrow night of the woman reconnecting with her African roots looks amazing. Thanks for every ounce of thoughtful and thought provocking incite you give to each and every story.

    July 15, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  39. LisaL - Canada

    wow. that lady's experience – feeling the presence of arms around her – very moving. what a powerful experience.

    July 15, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  40. Amanda Walton Fort Erie, Ontario

    Wow Anderson, that sneak preview with the lady in Guyana was very touching, you could really feel her emotions - looking forward to watching the entire interview

    July 15, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  41. Reba

    Knowing this happened just a couple of hours away from where I live is a terrifying reality.

    July 15, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  42. Michelle D . Fonthill. Ont

    Such terrible tragedy in the world .I 'm having not so good day either bad news all around

    July 15, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  43. Minou, New York City

    Ms Okofu is very moving. I'm looking forward to hear what else she had to say.

    July 15, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  44. Madelyn

    Maybe one of the suspects had connections to one of the Billings adopted children.Terrible story

    July 15, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  45. BettyAnn,Nacogdoches,TX

    Oh yeah, only in Texas. I wish something good would happen in Texas you could report. 😦

    July 15, 2009 at 10:33 pm |
  46. Rebekah

    @Anderson – that was the perfect way for you to point out that the White House was built using some slave labor. Here in America. How far we have come...

    July 15, 2009 at 10:33 pm |
  47. Rikki, Fargo, ND

    She looks like an incredible woman! I can't wait to see the full interview tomorrow!

    July 15, 2009 at 10:33 pm |
  48. Lori from IL

    Anderson and Team 360 -

    Thanks for bringing us this story on Michelle Obama's "roots" - Anderson, loved your lead in.... and interesting report by Joe Johns.... reminds me of being glued to the TV when the mini-series "Roots" first aired -

    Joe Johns, nice ending....one white house to The White House (built in part by slaves).....

    July 15, 2009 at 10:33 pm |
  49. Chris

    does anyone know how the byrds became wealthy enough to afford such a lavish house/pool with security system and be able to support that many children? I have been trying to find this information online and I have been unable to.

    July 15, 2009 at 10:32 pm |
  50. cristy kirssin

    Yhea what was the atmosphere like there in Cape Coast, can't be too joyous of a place...

    July 15, 2009 at 10:32 pm |
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