Brewton native charged in killing

Published 10:04 am Wednesday, July 15, 2009

By By Kerry Whipple Bean
Family and friends gathered around Donnie Stallworth Sr. and Brenda Stallworth as they sat in the Escambia County Courthouse in Brewton, awaiting an extradition hearing for their son, charged in connection with a high-profile double murder near Pensacola, Fla.
Donnie Ray Stallworth Jr., 28, of Hurlburt Field in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., waived extradition to Escambia County, Fla., and was being held on $1 million bond in the county jail. He will be transported back to Pensacola within the next 30 days, Circuit Judge Bert Rice said.
Stallworth has been charged with murder in connection with the deaths of Byrd and Melanie Billings, a couple well-known in their Beulah, Fla., hometown for their large adopted family.
Authorities in Florida have said the couple was gunned down in their bedroom at around 7 p.m., while many of their children — most of whom have special needs — were at home. None of the children were harmed.
Police have said one of the motives in the case appears to be robbery.
Donnie Stallworth Jr. is a 1999 graduate of T.R. Miller High School and has served in the U.S. Air Force for about 10 years.
Friends of the family who gathered at the courthouse to support the Stallworths said they were shocked by the turn of events.
Escambia County Chief Deputy Mike Lambert said Stallworth’s supervisors at Hurlburt Field said he was “a good man.”
Stallworth is one of seven people now in custody in the Billings case.

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