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July 16th, 2009
09:39 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Florida Couple Murdered

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/07/16/florida.couple.killed/art.billings.entrance.cnn.jpg caption= "Friends left notes of mourning at the entrance of the Billings' home Thursday in Beulah, Florida."]

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

We have new details on the murder of the Florida couple who adopted more than a dozen children with special needs. Investigators say they've located "valuable evidence," including a stolen safe and several guns. Seven people - one of them a 16-year-old - are charged with killing Byrd and Melanie Billings. An eighth person, Pamela Long Wiggins, faces charges of accessory after the fact of felony murder. Tonight on 360°, Anderson will talk with Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan.

Also tonight, President Obama sounding more like candidate Obama as he addresses the NAACP convention here in New York. We'll play large portions of his message. "The pain of discrimination is still felt in America," he said as he helped mark the organization's 100th convention. He also had a tough love message for those in attendance as he talked about the greater odds for African-Americans to grow up amid crime and gangs. "That's not a reason to get bad grades, that's not a reason to cut class, that's not a reason to give up on your education and drop out of school," he said.

And, new insight on the possible fate of Michael Jackson's children. There's word that they could end up with their Aunt Janet.

Join us for all this and more starting at 10pm ET. See you then!


Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Aline Ikuzwe

    I always wondering about american justice ! how can they let go the women who helped in murder off the couple from Florida on a bond?did they understand how it can affect the result ! this women need to go back in jail for those children and the family ! come on AMERICA,HUNGRY AMERICA ! I wish I HAD POWER ON THIS ISSUE MAY GOD BLESS HONESY PEOPLES in the world . Thanks Anderson.

    July 17, 2009 at 12:37 am |
  2. cathy from Barbados

    I was thinking that it looks from the short snippets of the security cameras shown, some of these men were unmasked does this not mean intent to kill; as it would not matter if they were identified or not.

    July 17, 2009 at 12:23 am |
  3. Sonya Swinney

    since there was drugs found in the home,do you think this was a hit out on their lives?I am so thankful the kids lives was spared. This malice murdered is evident that the world we live in shows that money is the root of EVIL!!!!!!

    July 17, 2009 at 12:07 am |
  4. Nicole Cardinale

    When are people going to play this card? It is so stupid it could work.
    My cousin just went abroad to talk about this issue. I hope HE brought it up! that is who we are...

    July 17, 2009 at 12:01 am |
  5. angel

    I think michaels kids should go to janet and the grandmother there is a bond and debbie should go on with her life. As far as the billings murder why were they killed when they have a warm heart to take in children with special needs what a shame my prayers go to both families

    July 16, 2009 at 11:53 pm |
  6. Brenda hester

    I see no point in having sheriff morgan on when he won't answer any questions re his "humdinger" remark. Either he was wrong, jumped the gun or just wants to keep going before the camera revealing nothing new.

    July 16, 2009 at 11:51 pm |
  7. Sabrina In Las Vegas

    I think they did catch the murders on the interior cameras and that is why the officer would not comment.

    It will all come out soon enough.

    I'd like to know what crimes they did that the FBI, AFT, and DEA should be after them. (that is a lot of abbreviations to follow one and not be from a degree!)

    That is why they were practicing their "gun fight get away".

    July 16, 2009 at 11:50 pm |
  8. Lila (Faye) Hudson

    How could anyone say that the killing in Pensacola Fl. was simple ? Thanks for asking the hard qustions . Check out the type of busniess this Mr. Billing was in. Don't make him a hero just yet. Sherriff Morgan
    has done a great job I pray God Bless him , He speaks so well in his
    interview with you. He deserves our thanks . I do not belive they should have let the woman Long or Wiggins out on bond and a low one at that. On our local news her neighbors said those people ,the red van, and things was going on weeks at her house before the killing. I keep hearing she is charge with after the fact .

    July 16, 2009 at 11:40 pm |
  9. lisa Chicago, ill

    How very sad about that couple being Murdered in Florida my heart goes out to them feel so bad for the children. 🙂

    July 16, 2009 at 11:39 pm |
  10. Nicole Cardinale

    There is only one way to deal with this kind of domestic terrorism. Play
    the card of health officials with mental health professional credentials. This could solve terrorism at home and abroad. Send the health department! -that is sure to immaculate terro ists machismo.

    July 16, 2009 at 11:34 pm |
  11. hafiz mcglasson

    As an expat living in Malaysia, I find it interesting that from the american perspective the extremely small minority of JI in Indonesia is considered a major problem but non-Muslim extremist groups are not seen as on the same level of threat to world stability. Fair reporting is fair reporting; demonizing is not an attractive journalistic trait.

    July 16, 2009 at 11:33 pm |
  12. Jessica

    Anderson, I'm so in love with you. I stopped doing everything when you're on TV.
    Love
    From Sydney Australia

    July 16, 2009 at 11:30 pm |
  13. SharkGoddess

    if the suspects go to trial and are found guilty I hope the judge tosses them all in jail for life, no contact, no frills, no nothing so all they can do is think about why they're there 24/7. There was absolutely no reason at all to rob or kill them, NONE. These are the scum of the Earth covered in pondscum slithering under the bottom feeders. They're just as evil as Islamic extremist terrorists in my opinion. If they're found guilty, I hope they have an absolutely horrid time in prison. They deserve no happiness, and no peace for the rest of their lives.

    July 16, 2009 at 10:58 pm |
  14. Mishka

    These killings were just totally ridiculous. We have dumb criminals. I am sure they planned this but I guess they didnt plan on being on camera. I wish the best for these children. It really saddens me greatly that these children have to be uprooted in such a manner as this.

    July 16, 2009 at 10:57 pm |
  15. katie

    How could they do that to a couple of 17?

    July 16, 2009 at 10:54 pm |
  16. ronnie patrick

    I don't want to hear another word about crazy Sarah Palin. Enough of that for it isn't news it is a real punishment now. Please let go and let this poor woman try and get her life together. Sarah has serious problems that we don't know about. As far as I am concern she is finished and I for sure will not vote for the dumb uneducated woman.

    July 16, 2009 at 10:41 pm |
  17. ronnie patrick

    Now about Michael Jackson, I am so tired of hearing about Michal. I feel sad in my heart for his death for I grew up on his music and have just about all of his music but enough now. Let the dead bury the dead and move on. I don't want to wake up every morning seeing Michael on the front page and TV screen. Michael was not that important it was his music that I was crazy about. Please give us a break.

    July 16, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  18. ronnie patrick

    I listened to the NAACP speech and I was left with so much pride and joy in my spirit. What a strong message delivered by our President. I think this was probably the best message delivered outside of Bill Crosby to any Black organization on history. Now you tell me is Obama not the best if not the very best. I just love this President and pray daily for him and the success of the American people under his watch. I guess the foolish stupid Republicans will find something nasty to say about the message. You better back off Republicans for you are falling like flys with all your wife cheating , email writing, money giving , and the list goes on and on. God don't like ugly and and very fond of pretty and I know you get the message. What you do to Obama will for certain happen to you. You got one in jail for stealing billions and one on his way and the list goes on and on.

    July 16, 2009 at 10:31 pm |
  19. Schuyler

    didnt it strike a red flag why were these people adopting all these special need children.

    July 16, 2009 at 10:27 pm |
  20. Randy

    We used to have people who dug into a story. Now all we have are people who just repeat what everyone else is saying. CNN you must have at least one person who can do much better about getting the real story about the Billings case.

    July 16, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  21. june

    Has anybody thought of a connection of the Billings murder to the other murder of a Florida couple killed in their beach front home. That murder had some things in common. i.e. black clothing, in and out quickly.

    July 16, 2009 at 10:09 pm |
  22. Annie Kate

    I keep wondering why the thieves had to kill that couple – I wish the sheriff in his talk with Anderson would say in general why this happens in some cases. So Janet Jackson may get the children – I think that is a good choice. It keeps them away from Joe Jackson; the children seemed to already be very close to Janet at the funeral; and it deals with the advanced age of Katherine Jackson as well. While I am sure she will be around for much of the time with the children, Janet is more of the age to provide the continuity of a parent relationship and a normal life. I wonder if the court will talk to the children and see what they think of the various people being considered for their guardian/parent. While the children can't have the last say on the matter, it probably would go down better if the children felt like their wishes were considered as well.

    July 16, 2009 at 9:46 pm |