PENSACOLA, Fla. - UPDATE: Three more suspects have been arrested inthe murders of Byrd and Melanie Billings. 19-year-old FrederickThorton, Jr. and a 16-year-old were both picked up in OkaloosaCounty. A third suspect was picked up in Brewton. That makes atotal of seven suspects in custody in the case. Escambia CountySheriff David Morgan says all primary suspects are now in custody.They are still looking at a possible suspect on other charges.
Here's the seven suspects Sheriff David Morgan listed:
- Leonard Patrick Gonzalez Jr., 35
- Leonard Patrick Gonzalez Sr., 56
- Wayne Thomas Coldiron, 41
- Gary Lamont Sumner, 30
- Fredrick Lee Thornton, 19
- Donald Ray Stallworth, 28
- An unidentified juvenile, 16
During a noon news conference Tuesday, Sheriff Morgan said thiswas a home invasion murder. Morgan told reporters Leonard Gonzalez,Jr. was the "organizer" of the crime. When asked what wasstolen from the home, Morgan responded that at least one safe wastaken from the home.
Wednesday evening, Sheriff Morgan announced the arrest of Lamont Sumner. He was arrested and charged with an open count ofmurder. Deputies say robbery was one of the motives in themurders.
The Billings had 17 children. 13 of them were special needs, andwere adopted. The couple was found shot to death in their Beulahhome last Thursday.
56-year-old Leonard Gonzalez, Sr. told investigators he was theget-away driver in the home invasion that ended in the deaths ofBryd and Melanie Billings.
Surveillance video from the Billings home on Mobile Highway showthe red van driving up to the house Thursday evening. According tothe report Gonzalez: "stayed in the van, moving to the driver'sseat as the rest of the suspects entered the residence andcommitted the robbery."
Gonzalez's statement said those other suspects included41-year-old Wayne Coldiron, who appeared to have a freshly shavenhead, as he was led from the sheriff's office early Monday morning.The elder Gonzalez told investigators his son, "Leonard GonzalezJunior and several black males" were also involved.
Coldiron and Gonzalez, Jr. are charged with murder. Gonzalez,Sr.is charged with evidence tampering.
"He tried to alter the van. In what way, he attempted to concealdamage and paint the van," said Sheriff David Morgan.
The report goes on to say "Gonzalez indicated he was not sure...who shot the victims... but both Wayne Coldiron and LeonardGonzalez... entered the residence armed with handguns."
In one of the reports Gonzalez, Sr. said he did it to "changethe appearance due to the van being used in the homicide." But,neighbors, including Dave Barnes had already seen the van more thana week earlier.
"I think it's the same van I've seen there on several occasionsin the past two weeks," said Barnes.
The police report also indicated surveillance video matcheddetails "given in the version of events described by Gonzalez,Sr."
Three suspects were seen on the surveillance video inside thehome. They were wearing masks, and two of the suspects carried longguns.
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