We are learning more about the suspects, shot and killed by officers responding to the scene of Jackson County Sheriff John McDaniel's home. They have been identified as 60-year-old Lionel Sands and 54-year-old Daniel Ray Brown.
The home of Jackson County sheriff John McDaniel became a crime scene as his wife Mellie, a deputy and two suspects were shot and killed on Tuesday Jan. 30, 2006 in Marianna, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon)
State Attorney Steve Meadows said Sands, a retired Army officer, was a suspect in the 2001 death of his wife. Sands and Brown discovered her face down in the pool at the Sands' home. The two men were the only witnesses, according to law enforcement.
They claim she had fallen off a ladder, hit her head and then fell into the pool. A medical examiner found evidence of blunt force trauma to the head, but there was never an arrest because Meadows says the Jackson County Sheriff's Office did not have enough evidence at the time to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Sands had hit and killed her.
Meadows told reporters Wednesday night that Sands dismissed a federal court case a few days ago after learning he would end up owing money to cover the legal fees of the insurance company he was battling with over his wife's quarter million dollar life insurance policy.
And then there's Daniel Ray Brown. Authorities say Brown served eight years in a Texas prison and was paroled in 1995. He apparently didn't stay in one place for long, moving between Jackson County, Texas and Louisiana.
But the reason why the two men, who met through a Jackson County church group, would target the home of Sheriff McDaniel is still not clear.
Meadows questioned, “Were they waiting for the Sheriff or did they just intend on taking Mrs. McDaniel? All the answers to those questions died with the individuals that day."
The men clearly had a brutal plot in mind, both going through great lengths to disguise themselves and the crime. Investigators found latex gloves, bleach, vinegar, handcuffs, duct tape, trash bags, ammunition and a pistol in Sands' car.
Sands and Brown were also found with a pistol on them.
Meadows added again, "What their ultimate plan was died with Mr. Sands and Mr. Brown."