Suspect Could Get Death Penalty in Couple's Murder

By: AP
By: AP


Sentencing is slated to begin for one of the suspects convicted of killing a wealthy Florida Panhandle couple with nine special needs children in 2009 during a botched robbery attempt.

Leonard Patrick Gonzalez Jr. was found guilty in October in the
murders of Byrd and Melanie Billings. A jury has recommended he be
executed, though a final decision has not been made. Sentencing
begins Thursday, Dec. 9.

State Attorney Bill Eddins said he is the only one of eight
defendants who faces the possibility of the death penalty.

A co-conspirator who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder
testified that Gonzalez shot Byrd Billings in each leg, demanding
to know where the money was kept and then turned the gun on his
wife when she said she couldn't remember the safe combination.

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