We’re still working on the exact schedule for the monthly columnists, so today will be a general news article.

Intruders broke into the home of Byrd and Melanie Billings on the night of July 9 in Beulah, Florida. Within a few minutes, Byrd and Melanie were dead, and the intruders had stolen some items from the residence (police have not released details about what items were taken).  Nine of their children were at home during the invasion, but none were harmed (and one ran to a neighbor’s house for help).

In the aftermath of this tragedy, we began to get an idea about the sort of people the Billings were.  68 year old Byrd and his 43 year old wife Melanie had a total of 4 biological children from previous marriages.  Blessed by financial prosperity, they adopted 12 or 13 more children (the accounts vary), many of them with special needs.  Instead of spending their money on fancy jewelry or trips around the world, Byrd and Melanie chose the enrich the lives of these children.  What a wonderful way to spend your life.

The police were aided in their investigation by the surveillance system that that was used to keep an eye on the Billings children as they moved throughout the house.  The surveillance system caught the crime on tape.  Seven people have been charged with murder, including a 16 year old who will be tried as an adult.  A father and son were among those arrested.  Authorities also have an interest in another person who may have aided and abetted.  The seven who are charged with murder could face the death penalty.

Two members of the group had military experience, and some members of the group may have done work on the grounds of the Billings home.  The inside information, coupled with the military experience, may help explain the very efficient nature of the attack.

At this point, authorities are saying that robbery was the motive, and they have not indicated that any other motives may gave existed.  If this crime was simply for financial motives, it is absolutely sickening.  Not that any motive would have been a good reason to kill them; but with purely financial motives, the criminals could have simply tied up to couple to prevent them from calling authorities.  To elevate the crime from burglary to murder makes no sense, on any level.  I do wonder if there might be a second motive, although I am not sure what that motive might be.

I’m not sure why the killer chose to spare the Billings children, but at least the monsters showed a tiny bit of compassion by allowing them to live.  Or perhaps they simply ran out of time.

I am not typically a proponent of the death penalty.  I have a couple of concerns with it, the most troubling being the fact that it is irreversible in the case that the wrong person is executed for a crime.  However, in this case, I believe that I could be convinced that execution is an appropriate punishment for the crime.