PENSACOLA, Fla. – A judge has ruled that the media can watch and describe video taken from the home of a Florida couple the night they were killed in a home break-in. But they cannot air or distribute the video.
Circuit Judge Nicholas Geeker agreed to a compromise Friday between an attorney representing the media and an attorney for the family of the slain couple, Byrd and Melanie Billings.
The couple were known for adopting numerous children with special needs. Nine of their young children were at home when they were killed July 9.
An extensive camera system captured some images of the crime. The family attorney had said he was concerned about images of the young children and the bloody crime scene being made public.
Authorities have arrested eight people in the case.
The more than 700 pages of witness and suspect interviews, crime scene reports and autopsy information released by State Attorney Bill Eddins detail a gruesome scene.
According to autopsy reports, Melanie Billings, 43, was shot twice in her chest, and also in the face and head. Byrd Billings, 66, was shot multiple times in the head and legs.
Investigators have said the extensive surveillance system in the family's sprawling west Escambia County home captured the men, some of them in ninja garb, entering and leaving in less than four minutes.
The dozens of witness and suspect interviews reveal a complex investigation involving the suspects and their ties to Byrd Billings, his used car financing business, gangs, drugs and the Mexican underworld.
A safe taken from the family's home contained nothing of value, but a second safe that wasn't stolen had $164,000 in cash. An attorney for the family has said the suspects might have been targeting the second safe.