Stallworth entered home with gun, investigator testifies

Published 10:34 am Monday, July 20, 2009

By By Staff Reports
Donnie Ray Stallworth Jr. entered the home of Byrd and Melanie Billings with a gun, according to another suspect in the case of the murdered Pensacola couple, a Florida sheriff's investigator testified Monday.
During a probable cause hearing for Stallworth, a Brewton native who turned himself in to local authorities and has declined to waive extradition to Florida, investigator Terry Harden said suspect Wayne Coldiron identified Stallworth from a photo lineup as one of the other participants in the crime.
Byrd and Melanie Billings, known in their small community of Beulah, Fla., for having adopted 13 children with special needs, were gunned down in their bedroom during what authorities have said was a robbery.
Coldiron, who told Harden he was also in the house at the time of the murders but was did not see the shootings, also said that Stallworth took a small safe from the house and put it in one of the getaway vehicles, a red van.
Circuit Judge Bert Rice determined after evidence was presented that there was probable cause to hold Stallworth on the murder charge. He also revoked bond.
Defense attorney David White pointed out during the hearing that the only evidence against Stallworth was the statement of Coldiron, who has a previous criminal record. Harden said he was not aware of any physical evidence implicating Stallworth.
Harden said Coldiron did not say who shot Byrd or Melanie Billings.

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