Byrd and Melanie Billings Case: Contract Hit by Leonard Gonzalez?
New developments have revealed that the murder of esteemed Florida couple Byrd and Melanie Billings may have been a contract hit.
The Billingses were known as the loving parents of 16 children, many of whom were adopted and 12 of whom were special needs. They were murdered during a home invasion and robbery on July 9, 2009.
As the case progressed, eight people were arrested, seven under charges of murder and one under charges of being an "accessory after the fact".
The ringleader is thought to be Leonard Gonzalez, Jr., who formerly worked at a car dealership owned by Byrd Billings. According to a source from the state attorney's office, most of those involved in the murder believed robbery was their main purpose, while Gonzalez Jr. and other undisclosed suspects knew and had planned it to be a hit.
The Escambia County Sheriff's Office has to date believed robbery to be the prime motive in the Billings murder, but Sheriff David Morgan assured the public that he would explore all possible leads and avenues of the case.
"We are, in fact, looking at this," Morgan said. "We want to ensure the citizens of Escambia County that we are not in any way, shape or form of the imagination taking that possibility or probability off the table in the conduct of the Billings murder."