Four Of Eight Facing Death Penalty In Billings Murders

October 13, 2009

Florida (ChattahBox) – Prosecutors in the case of the Billings, a wealthy couple who adopted special needs children that were slain in July, are seeking the death penalty for four of the eight suspects.

Leonard Gonzalez Jr., 35 (shown left); Wayne Coldiron, 41; Donnie Stallworth Jr., 28; and Frederick Thornton Jr., 19, are on the short list for possible execution. Three other men are charged with first degree murder, and one woman with accessory after the fact.

So far, it isn’t quite clear what occurred on that night. Though, according to the other defendants, they all went in for a robbery, and Gonzalez Jr. shot the couple in the room.

Because of the complicated nature of the case, the fact that the death penalty is being sought has caused some alarm.

Two of the men’s attorneys do not have licenses that allow them to try death penalty cases, and in Florida it is not that common to find lawyers who are.

This is due to the high number of hours worked, versus the $15,000 cap that the state puts on all income relating to such cases.

“The last death penalty case, I worked about 600 hours on the case,” Coldiron’s attorney, Sharon Wilson, was quoted as saying.

“The expense is the main reason I don’t take those cases anymore.”



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