July 16th, 2009
05:42 PM ET

Valuable evidence found in slaying of Florida couple

[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."]


Authorities have located valuable evidence, including a stolen safe and several guns, in the slaying of a Florida couple who had adopted 13 children, a state attorney said Thursday.

1 of 2 Bill Eddins said the safe had been taken from the couple's home. He said authorities found several guns, including one they believe was used to kill Byrd and Melanie Billings.

The two were shot to death July 9 in their Beulah, Florida, home with nine of their children present.

"In our opinion this was a home invasion-robbery where the people stole a safe and we recovered the safe," Eddins told reporters at a news conference. "I personally ... think it is as simple as that in terms of the motive."

Sheriff David Morgan of Escambia County, Florida, said authorities do not believe that anything else is missing from the Billingses' home.

Keep reading...

Filed under: 360º Follow • Crime & Punishment
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Teresa, OH

    This little group of acquaintances must have been a theft ring.
    Probably had been hitting the area for a long time. This was probably their biggest heist so far and two innocent people are gone due to their greed.

    The sheriff seems way too smug and pleased with himself to have just uncovered the tape, missing property and the guns. Has to be a bigger story than just this one ( as if this one wasn't enough )

    July 16, 2009 at 11:20 pm |
  2. jamal

    how can humans be so wicked i am feeling it so much for these young chrildren

    July 16, 2009 at 10:43 pm |
  3. JLG

    Dear All,
    Just like the MJ case; please let's just all 'shush'. We do not know the facts; and will not know until the trial. So please, reserve your judgmental comments until then. Let the police/investigators do their job; and then base your opinions on the 'facts', k?


    July 16, 2009 at 10:43 pm |
  4. Annie Kate

    The arrested individual who says all the police have is circumstantial evidence and hearsay – do those arrested know about the video tape yet? I don't see how the video tape would fit into either of those 2 categories, so it makes me wonder if the individuals who did the crime know that the tape exists. It was the perfect crime it sounds like except for that 1 small detail.

    July 16, 2009 at 9:11 pm |
  5. Donna Wood, Lil' Tennessee

    Maybe so Sheriff Morgan. Maybe the motive was just that simple. Because I tend to agree with Nancy Grace, the whole operation, or maybe execution of the crime would be a better way of putting it, was stupid! I'm just going to wait for the final outcome of the investigation myself.

    Donna Wood
    Lexington, Tennessee

    July 16, 2009 at 6:18 pm |