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July 16, 2009
PENSACOLA, Fla. (CBS/AP) The mystery deepened Wednesday around the circumstances and motives that led to the execution of a wealthy Fla. couple who raised 16 children, many of them adopted with special needs.
Robbery may not have been the only reason for the military style home invasion that led to the deaths of Melanie and Byrd Billings, according to Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan, but he has refused to speculate on other motives.
The Drug Enforcement Administration has been investigating the case from the beginning. Their interest - possible drugs and money laundering, though officials won't say who they're probing, reports CBS News correspondent Terrell Brown.
Morgan once again denied having knowledge of any federal investigation.
......Morgan said the suspects spent 30 days training for what was a precisely executed break-in, save for the failure to turn off the couple's camera system. Before the crime, the extensive surveillance system was used to monitor the children.
......David Melenkevitz, a spokesman for the DEA, said his agency is assisting with the investigation but would not comment further.
He said Escambia County officials have also sought help from other federal agencies including the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
July 16, 2009
Morgan speculated that murder may not have been the alleged robbers' original intention, likening the double murder to a drug deal gone bad.
"There was never any mayhem or murder in the intent there" until something went wrong, he said. "It's hard to say unless you're in the psyche of the criminal."
Morgan confirmed reports that the Drug Enforcement Agency was helping in the investigation, but he refused to spell out their role other than to say the DEA was investigating the suspects.
.......officials are also looking into a possible link between the seven-man crew charged with killing the Billings and Mexican drug runners and the notoriously violent gang MS-13, according to federal law enforcement sources.
.....Two of the seven suspects charged with murder, 35-year-old Leonard Gonzalez Jr., and 28-year-old Donnie Ray Stallworth, had military training, police say.
Stallworth worked in the Air Force's elite Special Operations Command with an aircraft maintenance squadron and Gonzalez was a former soldier in the National Guard,The Associated Press reported.
Police do not believe Long, the eighth arrest, was present at the murder scene but do suspect she may have personal ties to the alleged mastermind of the attack - Leonard Patrick Gonzalez Junior, reports Brown. CBS News obtained a marriage license from December listing Long as the bride, with Gonzalez as a witness. Police are also still seeking at least one more accomplice who they believe failed his assignment to disable the house's surveillance system.
Originally posted by dooper
Either way, to kill these folks in a house-full of kids, these SOB's should be fried, as well as the bimbo Real Estate agent.
And stupid folks wonder why I carry a .45 on me at all times. I may get shot, and I may get killed, but I'm taking someone with me.
Originally posted by cbianchi513
reply to post by dooper
I think it's a pretty safe bet that the real estate agent isn't a trigger puller, that's why bail was set for her. They made it so she could make bail.
Cut her loose, but rest assured she's got a 24/7 tail... Maybe she'll do what they're hoping, and lead them to the "missing" accomplice.
Originally posted by ZindoDoone
One other thing that keeps nagging at me is..Why in hell did they need such a large force for the 'mission'.