Fourth Person Arrested In Billings Murder, at least 3 more being sought

July 14, 2009

(ChattahBox) — Another suspect, Gary Lamont Sumner has been arrested in the shooting deaths of a Gulf Coast couple known for adopting special-needs children, authorities said late Monday.

Sumner, 30, a day laborer, was arrested during a traffic stop and faces a murder charge for his alleged role in the deaths of Byrd and Melanie Billings on Thursday, Escambia County, Florida, Sheriff David Morgan said.

Police believe six to eight people were involved in the homicides, which occurred in the couple’s home in Beulah, west of Pensacola, near the Alabama state line. Three persons of interest, two black males and one white male, are still being sought by authorities. “We expect more arrests to be imminent,” Morgan told reporters.

The Billings placed  surveillance cameras in every room of their nine-bedroom house to monitor their special-needs children activities. It was those cameras that captured images of the masked men who shot the wealthy couple to death in a break-in executed with chilling precision.  The Billings were each shot multiple times, Morgan said, but he would not release further details on their deaths. Morgan said that the crime appeared to have “numerous motives,” though robbery was the only one he would specify.

Authorities released two surveillance tapes taken from the front and rear of the Billingses’ home. The video from last Thursday showed three armed, masked men arriving in a red van, entering through the front of the house and then returning to the vehicle. Others dressed in what the sheriff called “ninja garb” went in through an unlocked utility door in the back. They were in and out in under 10 minutes.

The crime was “a very well-planned and methodical operation,” Morgan said.

Wayne Coldiron, 41, who turned himself in, and Leonard Patrick Gonzalez, Jr., 35, who was arrested in a nearby county, and Leonard Patrick Gonzalez Sr., 56, were arrested this past weekend. Coldiron and the younger Gonzalez face charges of murder, robbery and residential home invasion; the elder Gonzalez who was driving the getaway van, so far only faces charges of evidence tampering for allegedly trying to disguise a vehicle spotted at the home. One of the persons in custody was the “mastermind” of the crime, Morgan said, but he would not identify that person.

Source: CNN


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