Honoring their love

When the killing of a loving couple, who opened their hearts and home to children with special needs, is eclipsed on broadcast news by speculation over the death of a pop star, we turn to print journalism for the story beyond the soundbites.

Melissa Nelson of The Associated Press, in an in-depth report, gives readers the kind of details we seek and allows us to feel the love these parents imparted.

Of special note are remarks by the Escambia County, Fla., sheriff comparing this senseless slaughter to that of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas. What led the two killers to the Clutters’ rural home was prison talk that Herb Clutter had a fortune stashed away there. This, then, might be a key to motive. Truman Capote’s book about those murders, “In Cold Blood,” has one of the most chilling lines ever to appear in nonfiction: “And the black Chevrolet crept slowly up the drive.”

We cannot overlook the love in the Billings' story, exemplified by this quote from the Florida couple’s adult daughter, “My mother always told me some people grow up wanting to be doctors or lawyers or teachers. She wanted to be a mommy,”

Thanks to my friend in the Florida Panhandle for sending me the following article. She said she is “trying to make sense of the whole horrible event.”

We can’t make sense of the deaths of this couple, but acquainting ourselves with the depth of their love will allow us to honor their lives.

“Chilling Footage Shows Florida Killers,” Melissa Nelson, Associated Press, 13 July 2009, LINK.

PHOTO: Byrd and Melanie Billings in their home, 2005. AP/Photo, Pensacola News Journal, Karena Cawthon.


Papamoka said...

What kind of monsters can do such a thing to such wonderful and beautiful souls? I honestly believe that evil walks the earth and it is up to good people to defend not only mans laws but those laws of God.

We can only hope an prey that these monsters are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

God rest the Clutter's souls. It takes a larger than life heart to take on the responsibilities that they choose to do freely. Most of the babies they adopted were orphoned once already and now those little babies must go through it again. My heart goes out to them.

Thanks for posting this BJ.

Papamoka said...

Correction to my comment, I meant Byrd and Melanie Billings from Florida. God bless them and may they rest in peace.

Frodo, on the Orient Express said...

The video surveillance was stunning. Wait a minute, the video surveillance? Why would there be video surveillance?

There's something here we do not yet know.

Heartbroken said...

There was survillance of the entire property and in every room of the house so the Billings could keep an eye on the children at all times while the children had the freedom to roam around the property.

Another arrest is expected today. Been waiting for police briefing update. Will report back any new information given.

by Michael Boh said...

I agree BJ. Once again man shows his inhumanity. Even the angels among us fall victim to the mayhem that is man. May they rest in peace.

Heartbroken said...

Update on the Billings murders:

7 adults, 1 juvnelie arrested. One motive is robbery as they took the safe that was in the home. Other motives are being followed.

Gonzzalas SR. a pressure washer, drove the van. Gonzalas Jr. masterminded the entire operation. These two and Coldiron are white men. The 3 black men are from Okaloosa County and detailed cars. Police looking for one more suspect.

All are charged with first-degree murder. (Don't know about the juvenile.) FL has death penalty.

Not to be macabre, but we suspect there will be some crispy critters come fry-day.

B.J. said...

Frodo, the surveillance cameras are explained in the linked article. Heartbroken: thanks so much for the updates! The AP article gives such insight into the goodness of this couple. I was very touched by it. BJ