Florida couple's slaying was a contract hit, source says

Discussion in 'Byrd and Melanie Billings' started by Blue_Dolphin308, Jul 31, 2009.

  1. Blue_Dolphin308

    Blue_Dolphin308 We can't help everyone, But everyone can help some

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  3. daisy7

    daisy7 Retired WS Staff

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    Sheriff Morgan is holding a press conference at 7:00pm CST (in about 10 minutes) to discuss the CNN report.

    From ECSO:

    Press Release

    Pensacola, FL-In response to media reports that the Billings Murders were contract killings, Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan is stating that the possibility that these murders were a contract killing is still being investigated as well as other motives. The case remains open and persons of interest are still being interviewed. A press briefing will begin at 7:00pm central.

    http://ricksblog.biz/?p=7074

    Let's use this thread for the presser. I'll give as many updates as I can, but I'm not really good at typing and listening:)
     
  4. daisy7

    daisy7 Retired WS Staff

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    Ok, none of the local stations are covering the presser.
     
  5. daisy7

    daisy7 Retired WS Staff

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    Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan conducted a news conference this evening to address “contract hit” rumors surrounding the investigation of the slayings of Byrd and Melanie Billings.

    The conference followed a CNN news story that said the homicides were a “contract hit” as well as a robbery. The story cited an unnamed source “with knowledge of the investigation.”

    (snipped)

    http://pnj.com/article/20090731/NEWS01/90731039
     
  6. Lossmitpro

    Lossmitpro New Member

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    Huh.

    Did not see it live, but based on this short article and quote, that's a classic non-statement statement if I ever saw one. In other words, Morgan could have slammed the door shut and did not. OR he could have announced lines of inquiry and did not. So what was the purpose of the conf?

    http://pnj.com/article/20090731/NEWS01/90731039
     
  7. corilin

    corilin New Member

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  8. Gene

    Gene New Member

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    Loss:

    Completely agree. The people who know about the hit, if it was a hit, LPG and PLW (or should I saw PLM), are not talking about it. Morgan does not have enough evidence to make the next step so he is stalling for time. I believe that Morgan is being managed by Eddins. Since Morgan comes from the military, he is used to obeying orders from people he perceives as his superiors. If he gets the evidence he needs (when instructed by Eddins) he will say more. Until then he will give non-statements such as these........
     
  9. Lossmitpro

    Lossmitpro New Member

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    I agree with what you observe, but will add that the Sheriff actually seems to be doing a dang good job, in a difficult situation. I got a little worried at prior press confs at whether he was going to go all 'loose cannon' on us and actually impede the investigation by spilling too much, feeding the press for the ego-high, but he has acquitted himself remarkably well.

    Now that I have seen the actual press conf from yesterday, I fee I understand it's purpose more. There were rumors about this thing extending into murder for hire. As long as that was in blogs, or below the major news threshold, things could just simmer along. But once CNN picked it up and went national, had he remained silent, cries of 'good ol' boy cover up down south' might have rang out. As it is, this thing is gonna get very sloppy in it's tentacles, but he did a good job of making the essential point:

    'The Sheriff will follow all viable investigative leads, and present the information to state's attny. Even while prosecuting the current culprits on current charges, if there are other viable avenues of investigation, we are going to follow them.'

    I think from the reaction of the press corp, in a rare move, they trust him to give the very most qnty of info he can, without crossing the line of hurting his own efforts, AND, in what is VERY unusual IMHO, he in turn recognizes and applauds the press's own very different threshold for disclosure, and their different job from his, and he welcomes it; just like the state's attny has their own focus and job to perform.

    This guy is good, and I'd hate to be on his focus list for being investigated. I think he's a bird dog. He is a refreshing change from the bluff, bluster, show-boating and self-importance of a lot of chief's of police.
     
  10. daisy7

    daisy7 Retired WS Staff

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    I did like how he wouldn't name POIs because it would be unethical. I took this to mean, that he will only announce a name when they are ready to charge a person. I think he held the presser simply to say they are investigating this motive.

    But, did he say at the end he expects an arrest? Something about could be tomorrow, could be next week or could be next month... I SO hate that we can't hear the reporter's questions!!:(

    And, Gene, I agree it's weird they haven't released the 911 call, yet. With Sunshine, isn't the only reason it hasn't been released is if it's part of an on-going investigation?:confused:
     
  11. Miss Muffet

    Miss Muffet New Member

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    It's like being on a merry-go-round with Morgan.

    First he says that the motive was robbery.

    After media reports say it's a contract hit, he comes out and says that they're exploring all possibilities.

    A day later he comes back out and says that the motive was robbery and they're not investigating the Billings.

    (I guess because they would need to investigate the Billings if they were pursuing a contract hit possibility.)

    Now he comes out again and basically says they're exploring all possibilities again.

    My head is spinning.

    Who wants to take bets that he comes out this weekend and says the motive was robbery and they're not investigating the Billings again?
     
  12. RiverPirate

    RiverPirate New Member

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    Interesting.

    Now, Fox News has decided to put it up in their headline spot with a photo.

    http://www.foxnews.com/
     
  13. Gene

    Gene New Member

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    Daisy....I TOTALLY agree. Isn't it interesting that the 911 call would be part of the investigation? This alone speaks volumes..........strange that none of the journalists ever ask about it during the press conference....wonder why?
     
  14. Gene

    Gene New Member

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    Loss: There are several parts of Morgan's job, I see at least three. The first and foremost is to catch bad guys and bring them to justice. This part, he is doing very well. The second, is to communicate with the community and to handle PR and I think that he is doing or at least trying to do that well. The third is to deal with the internal/political aspects (Governors, Mayors, other Politicians) and to allow his people to do what they have to do. I think that the jury is out on that one. To me, he seems like he is trying to cooperate a bit too much with Eddins and risks looking a bit like he is being bullied. Looking at Eddins, I see a bully. He comes off as being smart, but very, very arrogant. Anyway, over all, I agree with you that Morgan is doing a very good job. I didnt know the guy before him, but I understand alot of people didnt think much of him
     
  15. RiverPirate

    RiverPirate New Member

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    Bolded by me.

    Maybe Eddins is being overprotective as he knows Sheriff Morgan is new and doesn't want him to screw up.
     
  16. daisy7

    daisy7 Retired WS Staff

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    Probability, Possibility Press Conference
    Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan called a press conference in response to the CNN news report that the State Attorney’s Office was investigating whether the July 9 murders of Byrd and Melanie Billings were contract hits.

    Morgan did admit that his agency was investigating the possibility of a contract hit, but, to date, that information is uncollaborated. He stated that their investigations are evidence-driven, and when the evidence is sufficient, arrests will be made.

    He said the numbers of persons of interest in the Billings case changes daily, even hourly. It is part of the flow of the investigative process, says Morgan. His investigators are following all leads.

    Morgan explained that that Sheriff’s Office will not release the names of persons of interest to avoid public embarrassment for those persons. However, his investigators will not ignore the possibility or probability of all leads, including whether the Billings murders were contract hits.

    He reiterated that the ECSO investigation is evidence-driven and that more arrests will be made as the State Attorney’s Office is comfortable with the evidence presented by ECSO. And Sheriff Morgan did state that that there is a high probability that more arrests will be made in this case.

    (snipped)

    http://ricksblog.biz/?p=7076
     
  17. Lossmitpro

    Lossmitpro New Member

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    A person's perspective is their own, and they have a right to it, but while respecting yours, I have to say I disagree with your characterization of the statements, and their consistency. I have seen NO flip-flopping, or 'wander' in the direction or statements. They have been carefully calibrated to be truthful, but not necessarily to 'show their hand' and possibly tip off a bad guy. Think of the whole safe issue -- they were very careful to be accurate, and never actually brought up the second safe until they had to, but even then, they were relatively non-specific, and the earlier statements when applied to the smaller safe were perfectly accurate.

    So it is true that robbery was always a 'prime motive' -- esp for the majority of the intruders... even if they knew from jump street that Jr. had another agenda. You can bet they have a LOT more info than can be made public at this time, but that eventually the facts will be known, and they simply can't afford to either scare off the bad guys, or be shown to have been purposely lying to the press or public. It's a tough road to walk, and I'll just reiterate that I think they are doing as good a job as most anyone could be expected to so far.
     
  18. daisy7

    daisy7 Retired WS Staff

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    IMHO, I don't believe this is the case. Yes, Morgan is new and I have NEVER seen a case where the SA is SO involved in pressers, but I just see Eddins as being "protective" about a very high-profile case.

    In last night's presser, Morgan repeatedly stressed the difference of the roles between ECSO and the SA (investigative vs. prosecution). I didn't even see Eddins there last night?
     
  19. Miss Muffet

    Miss Muffet New Member

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    My point is about what seems a constant switch from 'investigating other motives' to 'not investigating other motives.'

    Someone posted in another thread that he said something like "the motive doesn't matter, we have the people who committed the crime."

    I'd like to know if he really said that because they wouldn't have all of the people who committed the crime if the motive was a contract hit.

    I've begun to compile a chronological collection of video and transcripts of Sheriff Morgan's statements---from the horses mouth.

    The thread is a sticky at the top of the forum.
     
  20. who knew?

    who knew? Active Member

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    Maybe the journalists aren't on the same page as some of the sleuthers - I think the 911 call is important....
     
  21. Miss Muffet

    Miss Muffet New Member

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    Snippets from a July 20th newspaper article:

     

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