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National Briefing / Florida

Two are held in couple's slaying

July 13, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Officials in the Panhandle say they're holding two men on murder charges in the slaying of a wealthy Florida couple known for adopting children with developmental disabilities.

Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said day laborer Wayne Coldiron turned himself in and Leonard P. Gonzalez Jr. was arrested later.

Morgan said Coldiron was friends with Leonard P. Gonzalez Sr., 56, who was charged with evidence tampering.

Authorities said the elder Gonzalez tried to paint over damage on a red van spotted leaving the home of Byrd and Melanie Billings, who were shot to death Thursday as eight of their children slept. The Billingses had 16 children, 12 of them adopted.

Officials haven't said why the couple was targeted or whether anything was stolen. They said more arrests were expected.

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