PENSACOLA, Fla. (WALA) - After over eight hours of deliberations, guilty verdicts were handed out to Pamela Long. Long was charged with accessory after the fact in the robbery and murders of Melanie and Byrd Billings in July of 2009.
Long showed little emotion as the verdicts were read. After two full days of testimony and over eight hours of deliberation there is finally some closure for the Billings family. Their daughter, Ashley Markham, released a statement on behalf of the family.
"I feel a sense of relief knowing that those involved in all aspects of the murder of my parents are now being held responsible," she said. "It is also a relief knowing this chapter has come to a close ... I believe this will bring more closure to our hearts, and we will truly be able to begin the healing process."
Long's family is not happy with the verdict at all. They said the State Attorney's Office violated their promise of "use immunity" which would prevent the state from using information she gave them about the crime against her in court.
"They violated that agreement," said Long family spokesperson, Rev. Frank Macon. "They just went back on it and prosecuted her on her own information."
Assistant State Attorney, John Molchan, denied that claim. He said the critical information and evidence didn't come from Long herself but from someone close to her.
"We can use things that were found from an independent source, which in this particular case came from her husband while they were simultaneously having interviews, so the source of the safe and the guns also came from another source, which does not restrict us from using those against her," Molchan said.
Macon said the Long family is sympathetic to the Billings family and the terrible loss they have to live with, but today's verdict is an injustice and has just created more victims.
"There were enough victims to go around, but today we have more," Macon said. "Pamela's family - her mother, son, daughter, granddaughter - now has to suffer on ... suffer through."
This guilty verdict brings the Billings' murder case to a close after two long years of investigations and trials. Long's sentencing is scheduled for September 2. Until then, she will remain in jail without bond.
Long's attorney is expected to appeal the conviction. The maximum penalty for both counts could put her behind bars for 45 years.
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