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Byrd and Melanie Billings Killed in their home under very strange circumstances - multiple suspects in custody.


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  #1  
Old 07-23-2009, 09:06 PM
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Important - people who are NOT involved but are getting dragged in

Please READ and UNDERSTAND.

We have mentioned many times that we must NEVER create new victims in our quest to find the truth. Unfortunately, we may have done that.

Last night and today we pulled some posts relating to Debbie Tice. She has since contacted us, and provided enough personal information (which we will not post here) to convince the staff that she is not involved in this crime. However, as a result of her name being posted she and her son have received unwanted media attention, and she is quite upset. Which I can understand.

As of right now there is to be no more posting about this person, and we will add to this thread as needed should there be more people in the same situation. We will also become more strict in asking posters here to do some research BEFORE they post.

If you have any questions about this policy feel free to post. If you wish to argue with us about it do it via PM, not on the forum. We're not going to divulge information given to us in confidence, however.
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Old 07-24-2009, 08:01 PM
JBean JBean is offline
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Cab Tice is not a suspect and the authorites have not labeled him as being associated with this crime.
Please do not post any gossip that you may be reading at other sites. This is a legal matter and cooperation is required.
We have been contacted and have every intention of honoring what has been requested of us.

Let's focus on named suspects and continue to be responsible about what we say concerning those on the periphery.
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Old 08-01-2009, 04:07 PM
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We'd like to point something out here.

We've been deleting posts made about people that are not directly involved and/or have not been charged, but it's getting tiresome and we're probably going to stop doing it. We're tired of pointing out that just because someone's name appears on a document somewhere that does not make them automatically part of a criminal conspiracy. They may be, of course, but simply throwing out names and saying "What do you think of this?" is not any sort of sleuthing.

Some of these people have been in touch with me and the other staff here and have given us information privately that convinces us they are not involved in this crime. We have put everyone on notice that randomly "connecting" people to a murder can be defamatory. However, our terms of service here are very clear - your comments are your own, as are the consequences. If any of you wish to continue to post defamatory remarks, bear in mind that WS will not divulge any information about you without a subpoena but will do so if we are served with one - and that is something that happens more often than you might imagine.

Here is some informative reading:

Hundreds who posted views on sex assault trial targeted in Tarrant suit


"...But [Topix CEO] Tolles said the discussions are not necessarily a license to run people through the mud. "If there is a line that's been crossed from a libel standpoint and it seems reasonable we do, in fact, cooperate with the courts."..."
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Old 08-01-2009, 04:39 PM
Lossmitpro Lossmitpro is offline
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Wow. I just got a shot of cold water, when I saw this put up about ten minutes ago:

Quote:
We have put everyone on notice that randomly "connecting" people to a murder can be defamatory.

...your comments are your own, as are the consequences.

If any of you wish to continue to post defamatory remarks...
I want to personally go on record here as follows:

1) This is a private forum, so any rules the owner wants to institute, I will try to abide by, as well, of course with any other laws and regulations.

2) I was under the impression this was a place to share opinions theories, facts, etc. about ongoing investigations. Truth is an absolute defense to any claim of libel, i.e. simply pointing out someone's existing public criminal record is clearly NOT libel, even if it is unsettling for the individual. That is why public records are... well, public in the first place -- so that people are aware of information that can inform their opinions regarding people's past. Sorry, but that is a valid use of information.

3) I have tried to be scrupulous in making sure my opinions are clearly labeled as such. Having an opinion, and coming to it in a way that is certainly not via reckless disregard for the truth, then sharing it, is protected by the First Amendment (but maybe not be forum rules, of course).

That said, all someone has to do is sue, and it would make for a really bad day, even if you prevail -- and in our system, they don't have to be right, or even well-intentioned, they can even be trying to quell free speech and get away with it.

If the owner of the forum feels there is defamatory material here (I have seen none, personally, and have damn sure not created any!) yet refuses to take action to even alert the offending party as to that judgment, then how can any of us post in good conscience, since in the forum owner's opinion we could be breaking the law, even as they watch without intervention? That hardly seems sporting, now does it?

I think I have posted my last information here, I am very sorry to say.

Best wishes to all as I go to lurk mode; I really had hoped to be part of the team gathering information that might help LE capture all the perpetrators of this brutal crime.

ADMIN: If you feel there is material I have produced that is defamatory, please let me know publicly or via PM, I don't care which, and whether I agree or not (of course I would disagree), I will happily remove it.

I would hope you would do that to any other poster, although you are under no obligation to do so. I am VERY worried though, when YOU make a judgment that you *know* that there exists undeleted defamatory material on your own site. I can't afford to be sued in a broad association with such people. If you were only an ISP, I'd understand it, but you are active participants and monitors of the site, i.e. for TOS violations. Anyway, sorry for this, if it relates to only one or two bad apples who have already been taken care of.
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Old 08-01-2009, 05:04 PM
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pinkinablueworld pinkinablueworld is offline
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I am in agreement with Loss. I will log out and watch from the sidelines. I also hope that if I have written anything against the "rules" that a Mod please delete them.
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Old 08-01-2009, 05:43 PM
lexus116 lexus116 is offline
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I think a lot of people have been forced to go into "lurk" mode. If you can't share your research with others, it pretty much renders this forum...useless!
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Old 08-01-2009, 07:58 PM
billy508 billy508 is offline
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I am also going sit on the side lines. I would say more but my feelings have been well stated my others before me Thanks to all those who have posted. Good luck to everyone.
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Old 08-01-2009, 11:01 PM
Gene Gene is offline
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I can see both sides of this debate. Unfortunately, the USA is a litigious society. People like to sue or at least threaten to sue. Even if it is very costly for both sides, it makes them feel powerful. The mods here are probably volunteer and do not want to take the time to read every post and take responsibility for what stays and what is deleted.

It is frustrating not to be able to discuss openly. But probably none of us are lawyers, nor in a position to really know what we can say and what we can not say. There is no need to completely stop posting. For my part, I am continuing to post, but am very careful about what I post concerning people who have not been named by law enforcement.

You will lower your risks substantially (though not completely eliminate them) by communicating about unnamed individuals offline, for example via PMs.
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Old 08-02-2009, 12:22 AM
JBean JBean is offline
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No need to post that you aren't going to post. We all respect each others decisions and no explanation is necessary or required.

We discuss 100's of cases here and there is always a period of adjustment with every new case. It takes a bit of time to determine who is involved and who isn't. We try to err on the side of caution when it comes to linking and discussing innocent people. It is only right and fair.

If an msm outlet reports that someone is a POI or a suspect then we have more freedom to do more research and investigating for posting purposes. But until such time, we ask that you post responsibly and do not discuss rumors or link personal information to people that have not been named by LE. This is SOP throughout the forum.

In this particular case,we have made a couple specific requests and cooperation is mandatory. This happens in many cases here at WS.

We have deleted plenty of inaccurate information including linking everything about one poor guy who was guilty of having the same name as one of the perps relatives! This happened more than once.

If you want to link to public information about people that may or may not be involved and are close to the investigation, that is fine. no need to cut and paste the information for posting here. But moderation may have more information and remove your link if necessary. Be careful about making accusations.

There are plenty of "anything goes" forums. The fact that we moderate and limit some information is part of the reason some people love it here and a big reason some people hate it here.
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Old 08-02-2009, 12:50 AM
swika swika is offline
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what is an msm outlet?

thanks
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Old 08-02-2009, 01:00 AM
JBean JBean is offline
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Originally Posted by swika View Post
what is an msm outlet?

thanks
I am so sorry! Main stream media.
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Old 08-02-2009, 03:14 AM
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Just my 2 cents. Many years ago, 20 to be exact, I was involved with a man I thought I loved. As the years have gone by, I have learned of the many offenses that he has committed. I have not seen him or heard from him in as many years. Just imagine what my family and I would go through if someone connected me to him just by a past relationship!
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Old 08-02-2009, 11:16 AM
Miss Muffet Miss Muffet is offline
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I'd like to say that I truly understand both sides of this too. For many years, I was an administrator of a very busy website (had nothing to do with sluthing). Finding a balance in moderating takes time, and everything changes when new members join because they sometimes need to be trained on how to become part of the community. I digress.

Fear of lawsuit is very real. That's why most internet sites prohibit posting suicidal threats. Amazingly even mental health forums have that restriction. If someone threatened to kill themselves and the site staff didn't notify the authorities, family could file a lawsuit against the website for not taking action.

The internet has caused an increase in innocent people getting dragged into a crime. It's very common for someone with the same last name to receive death threats. Jouralists are turning to the internet to find information and airing pictures on the news or publishing pictures in the newspapers of innocent people simply because they had the same name as a suspect.

Recently, Facebook or Myspace was the center of one of these events and a lawsuit is very likely. I believe in one instance, someone committed suicide after reading the nasty remarks received in email. Of course, the person would be depressed to begin with, but reading 'you should be hung' and other things along the line didn't help.

I think the recent moderator post is fair by warning to post theories at our own risk. I sure didn't need a warning to stop me from posting some of my theories since the family has hired an attorney to protect the reputations of the Billings family. I have no problem suggesting the theory that perhaps one of the victims hired the hit for the spouse, but Jr decided to kill them both. It wouldn't be the first time that's happened when a spouse wanted another spouse dead. But I'll just keep my theories about surviving family members to myself for now.

I think we should all appreciate that the owners reassured that identify information won't be disclosed without a subpoena. That's more protection than one of the search engines companies did for its clients years back.
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Old 08-02-2009, 04:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lossmitpro View Post
...2) I was under the impression this was a place to share opinions theories, facts, etc. about ongoing investigations. Truth is an absolute defense to any claim of libel, i.e. simply pointing out someone's existing public criminal record is clearly NOT libel, even if it is unsettling for the individual. That is why public records are... well, public in the first place -- so that people are aware of information that can inform their opinions regarding people's past. Sorry, but that is a valid use of information...
Very true - but that's not the only issue, and not what we're concerned about. The other issue is the tort of Public Disclosure of Private Facts.

Public records are public records. Exactly. Rumors, hearsay, etc. tend to be a lot of crap. Not always, of course, but most of the time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lossmitpro View Post
...If the owner of the forum feels there is defamatory material here (I have seen none, personally, and have damn sure not created any!) yet refuses to take action to even alert the offending party as to that judgment, then how can any of us post in good conscience, since in the forum owner's opinion we could be breaking the law, even as they watch without intervention? That hardly seems sporting, now does it?...
Whenever something like this comes up the people who have acted responsibly always seem to be the same one that apologize in case they have done something wrong, probably for the same reason that the people that act irresponsibly in the first place can't figure out that they are doing something wrong even when it's pointed out directly. If you haven't heard from us it's safe to assume you're not the problem.

The reason you probably have not seen the defamatory posts is because we have removed them. The reason you have not been contacted about your posts is probably because there's no problem with them. That doesn't mean no posts have been removed and it doesn't mean we haven't contacted other posters. We don't publicly discuss details of interactions with other posters, just as we would not publicly discuss interactions with you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lossmitpro View Post
...I think I have posted my last information here, I am very sorry to say...
Entirely up to you.

I'm not the owner of the site, just one of the folks that feel strongly about crime and support the victims of crime. That's the reason I volunteer my time here. I feel that fewer victims is better than more, and I repeat that being irresponsible in accusations and creating additional victims is antithetical to the goals of the site. I understand that there are people who feel they should be able to make any accusation against any individual they choose. They can do that, just not here.

A defamation suit brought by an innocent party against someone making a false accusation would not really involve this site. By pointing out how the law works we didn't change anything. In the case involving Topix the owners of Topix never told their posters to be careful, nor were they under any obligation to do so. The suit was not against Topix but against the posters that made the defamatory remarks. When we made the post we did we know there would be a certain number of members that would lash out at us, and we were correct, but the facts are what they are. You cannot defame people and expect them not to react. Put yourself in their position, as some have remarked on this thread.
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Old 08-02-2009, 04:28 PM
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I'm in it for the tacos.
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4Kat View Post
Just my 2 cents. Many years ago, 20 to be exact, I was involved with a man I thought I loved. As the years have gone by, I have learned of the many offenses that he has committed. I have not seen him or heard from him in as many years. Just imagine what my family and I would go through if someone connected me to him just by a past relationship!
You got it.
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Old 08-06-2009, 07:47 AM
Gene Gene is offline
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Question For Mods

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBean View Post
Cab Tice is not a suspect and the authorites have not labeled him as being associated with this crime.
Please do not post any gossip that you may be reading at other sites. This is a legal matter and cooperation is required.
We have been contacted and have every intention of honoring what has been requested of us.

Let's focus on named suspects and continue to be responsible about what we say concerning those on the periphery.

Another individual made similar allegations against Tice to police in Foley, Ala., home to another of his businesses. There, Det. Larry Dearing confirmed to NEWSWEEK that Tice is under investigation for allegedly smuggling 23 vehicles worth $61,000 to buyers in Mexico (though he has not been charged).

http://www.newsweek.com/id/210663/page/3

When an individual (no names mentioned) is officially under investigation for a related crime, is the ban on discussing them lifted???
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Old 08-06-2009, 02:26 PM
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mikeysmommom mikeysmommom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene View Post
Another individual made similar allegations against Tice to police in Foley, Ala., home to another of his businesses. There, Det. Larry Dearing confirmed to NEWSWEEK that Tice is under investigation for allegedly smuggling 23 vehicles worth $61,000 to buyers in Mexico (though he has not been charged).

http://www.newsweek.com/id/210663/page/3

When an individual (no names mentioned) is officially under investigation for a related crime, is the ban on discussing them lifted???
Good Question Gene seems He is up to his eyeballs in this case.
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Old 08-06-2009, 02:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene View Post
Another individual made similar allegations against Tice to police in Foley, Ala., home to another of his businesses. There, Det. Larry Dearing confirmed to NEWSWEEK that Tice is under investigation for allegedly smuggling 23 vehicles worth $61,000 to buyers in Mexico (though he has not been charged).

http://www.newsweek.com/id/210663/page/3

When an individual (no names mentioned) is officially under investigation for a related crime, is the ban on discussing them lifted???
If they are under investigation and you are sure it's the same individual, fine.
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Old 08-06-2009, 05:03 PM
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mikeysmommom mikeysmommom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adnoid View Post
If they are under investigation and you are sure it's the same individual, fine.
Yes it is the same individual.
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Old 08-07-2009, 11:46 AM
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I don't want to start anything, but in all murder cases, innocent people are dragged into an investigation.
I myself was interviewed and asked questions when my X husband's girl
friend was murdered.
BTW it was 10 years after the divorse, I never met her.......she didn't live with my X......and it ended up that HER X husband murdered her............big scandel.
But I had no problem with any of it because I knew I had nothing to do with her demise.
It just happens in high profile cases, it helps to find the real murderer.......that's a price you pay by knowing someone. IMOO
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Old 08-13-2009, 09:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adnoid View Post
We'd like to point something out here.

We've been deleting posts made about people that are not directly involved and/or have not been charged, but it's getting tiresome and we're probably going to stop doing it. We're tired of pointing out that just because someone's name appears on a document somewhere that does not make them automatically part of a criminal conspiracy. They may be, of course, but simply throwing out names and saying "What do you think of this?" is not any sort of sleuthing.

Some of these people have been in touch with me and the other staff here and have given us information privately that convinces us they are not involved in this crime. We have put everyone on notice that randomly "connecting" people to a murder can be defamatory. However, our terms of service here are very clear - your comments are your own, as are the consequences. If any of you wish to continue to post defamatory remarks, bear in mind that WS will not divulge any information about you without a subpoena but will do so if we are served with one - and that is something that happens more often than you might imagine.

Here is some informative reading:

Hundreds who posted views on sex assault trial targeted in Tarrant suit


"...But [Topix CEO] Tolles said the discussions are not necessarily a license to run people through the mud. "If there is a line that's been crossed from a libel standpoint and it seems reasonable we do, in fact, cooperate with the courts."..."
Update on lawsuit against posters

http://a.abcnews.com/m/screen?id=6960397&pid=79
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