7 Busted in Slaying of Couple Who Took in Disabled Kids

Men trained for military-style assault on parents of 17
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 15, 2009 4:00 AM CDT
7 Busted in Slaying of Couple Who Took in Disabled Kids
These booking photos provided by the Escambia County Sheriff Department show suspects in the home invasion and murder of Byrd and Melanie Billings.   (AP Photo/Escambia Sheriff's Department)

The video surveillance system a wealthy Florida couple installed to keep track of their 13 adopted children has helped catch their murderers, the Pensacola News Journal reports. The seven men in custody trained for up to a month to carry out a military-style invasion on the home of the couple, who adopted children with special needs, police said. An eighth suspect is still at large.

The suspects, dressed "ninja-style," stormed Byrd and Melanie Billings rural home, shot the couple, and left with a safe in less than four minutes, according to cops. The suspects knew each other through work, and two of them had been hired by the couple to do pressure-washing jobs at the home. Several of them, including an Air Force staff sergeant attached to a special operations unit, have military backgrounds.
(Read more Byrd Billings stories.)

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