Rick Outzen of the Daily Beast is reporting the tragic slaying of Byrd and Melanie Billings, a wealthy North Florida couple who had 17 children, many adopted, might have been a contract hit.
The suspect said that the contract price was between $20,000 and $50,000, according to the sources -- who requested anonymity, fearing possible reprisals -- along with whatever Gonzalez and his alleged accomplices could remove from the Billings residence.
Representatives from Escambia County Sheriff's Office refused to confirm or deny the allegations.
The motive for the alleged hit on the Billingses appears to be connected to Byrd Billings' financing of used car lots in the area, the sources said.
The Pensacola News Journal reports Leonard Gonzales Jr., the suspected leader of the group that entered the house and executed the couple, had previous financial ties to the Billings. He had received money from them to open a nonprofit martial arts studio, and worked for two used car lots that also had ties to the Billings. But the couple's adult daughter has denied Gonzales had any previous link to the couple.
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