Papers: Autistic child saw parents killed

Aug. 19, 2009 at 9:58 AM
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BEULAH, Fla., Aug. 19 (UPI) -- An autistic boy was in his parents' bedroom when the Florida couple were slain in a home invasion last month, documents reveal.

Documents released by prosecutors indicate a nurse who works with special-needs patients interviewed the boy, who related what he saw in the bedroom of Byrd and Melanie Billings, known for adopting special-needs children, when they were killed, CNN reported Wednesday.

The nurse told police the child said "two bad men" wearing masks woke Byrd Billings, telling him, "You're going to die."

The child said one man counted to three "before he shot Mom and Dad," as the father screamed, "No way, no way," CNN said.

Another child told the same nurse he was upstairs in his room when he heard the knock on his parents' door. The second boy said he heard "seven booms" and crept into the hallway, CNN said.

The Billingses were shot and killed July 9 in their Beulah, Fla., home. Seven men are charged with first-degree murder and home-invasion robbery. An eighth suspect, a woman, was charged with being an accessory after the fact. The seven males, including a 16-year-old teen charged as an adult, have pleaded not guilty.

The statements were documents released this week by the state attorney's office as part of the pretrial discovery process.

Also in the documents was a police interview with Leonard Patrick Gonzalez Jr., 35, one of suspects and the man police said they think organized the slayings. Gonzalez allegedly told authorities a group of car dealers did not like Byrd Billings and met to discuss the situation.

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