It boggles the mind that this case could be so engrossing and yet depicted as so simple. Pensacola is corrupt. It is rotten to the core. This murder is less than 3 degrees of separation from any one there. But I have to say I was surprised at some of the people in the mix. Doctors, lawyers. The connection of the Billings to Sheriff David Morgan is a “humdinger”. He is associated to Arety who is a “colleague” of Billings. We can trace that influence to the spat with County Administrator, George Touart, then you get links to W.D. Childers & Willie Junior. Everyone remembers Willie Junior, right? Committing suicide under a house? THIS IS ALL SO BIZARRE!
I half expect Capone descendants to come out of the woodwork! The murders of the Billings’ is just needle in the pine. It is small event in a larger picture. The two major cartels were battling over territory that inevitably resulted in only one standing. Then we have the guns. The guns are the guns linked to an Homeland Security investigation…..which investigation might that be???? Oh, the one where we allowed “gunwalking” We let suspicious people buy guns with paper bags of cash. So we could “track” those guns. But those guns showed up in the murder of DEA agents.
Let’s look at the timelime:
- July, 2009-Billings’ murder. Hugh Wiggins is caught with an arsenal of guns. He receives an immunity deal that covers multiple federal, state and local crimes.
- August, 2009-the official “gunwalking” begins under Project Gunrunner; guns were tagged & recorded to follow up on where they “turn up”.
- September, 2009- June, 2010- Three major DEA operations make huge arrests involving guns and narcotics coming from Mexico.
- Early 2010- Los Zetas officially severs ties with the Gulf Cartel. By most accounts, the Gulf Cartel ceases to remain an organization.
Is it possible that Hugh Wiggins’ dropped a dime on someone in July that resulted in the events mentioned above? Absolutely.
Where does that leave Escambia County? We have 2 murder victims. It has made national news. Sheriff Morgan states repeatedly in the press that Patrick Gonzalez Jr. is the mastermind and the murderer. He says it to newspapers, national news syndicates, local news. Everywhere you look you see David Morgan’s face less than 10 days after the murder claiming this has all been wrapped up in a nice little “home invasion robbery”. What happens when an FBI evidence report puts Hugh Wiggins’ DNA with Byrd Billings blood on a pair of gloves? The report is tossed aside.
I have spent the day reflecting on different things. As I sat down to write about the case, I thought that going over the lasting indentation in time; a moment can carry a generational reverberation. One instant can propel a life into constellation of events. We take for granted those moments and we abuse them regularly. Byrd Billings used his moments in time to weave a web of lies, as well as brazenly live a life more corrupt than a movie plot could begin to describe. He was selling drugs. He was laundering money. He was lining his pocket with government money for his “disadvantaged” kids. The money is in the number of kids.
When you have the ability to spend the least amount of effort and expense, the money is in the numbers. If you have a full time person, on site, that is CPR certified and is a healthcare professional, the space, the vehicles to transport the kids, and other fringe people helping out in a voluntary or part-time basis, the number of kids, who are not completely incapable of doing for themselves (ie dressing, eating etc), becomes a business. The state doesn’t mind because they have problems providing for the number of kids that need a home. Byrd & Melanie Billings exploited that. This all stems out of Melanie having a special needs daughter who died not too long before her mother.
The legacy here is not altruistic. The proof is in the lawsuits that Byrd filed trying to copyright the names of the kids. He tried to impose fines for letters acknowledging services for the kids.
“Additional documents released Monday from the Florida Department of Children and Families show a bizarre attempt by Byrd Billings to copyright the children’s names and request money from the department for their use. A department attorney, Katie George, told the Pensacola News-Journal that every time the agency sent Billings a letter referencing the children by name, he would reply with an invoice demanding millions in copyright infringement. In one document released by the department, he demands $10 million in silver or federal reserve notes of equal value.
In a sharply worded letter of December 2005, another department attorney, Richard Cserep, wrote to Billings, “you reference a wide variety of law in connection with this claim” for damages. “This includes copyright violations, trademark violations, contract violations, admiralty and maritime law, libel and the Truth in Lending Act. At no time in any of your correspondence have you made a plain demand for damages under a clear and cognizable theory of liability.”…A handwritten note on the letter says that no further correspondence was received from Billings after that letter.”http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/07/20/florida.slain.couple/index.html?eref=rss_crime
This is the legacy of Byrd Billings.
So someone choreographed 5 men to storm a compound that is fully established with cameras, to take some money from an old man. This is the story if you drank the Kool-Aid. This is the ultimate puzzle wrapped inside an enigma. The risk in this crime is high. The gain is low. No money actually came from it. Why so many men? Why at that location? Why? Why? WHY?
Then I see an article somewhere that says there is drug involvement. Makes sense, but still… So I look into this drug matter. I find that the DEA has an on-going investigation in the Pensacola area and in particular 2 cases involving Byrd Billings. NSA also has some oversight. A 73 year old man? Dope? NSA? DEA? Then there’s Patrick’s story of it being BIGGER than a robbery. That makes more sense to me than a “simple robbery”. The DEA documents suggest that Byrd Billings was being investigated for trafficking heroine, laundering money and human trafficking from a Mexican cartel, Los Zetas who were brokering an alliance to some degree with the Gulf Cartel which is loosely connected to the Columbo crime family. What? This guy has 13 foster kids. Trafficking humans? Heroine? Jesus Christ!
Then I watched Justin Billings interview. It was a couple of hours. He never cries. He is matter of fact in his statements. He doesn’t express any kind of emotion. No anger, no grief. He claims that his friend Walter spared his girlfriend for a price. What? Spared his girlfriend? What the hell does that mean? Is this guy high? No one seriously does this right? He’s spinning a yarn but implies he knew this would happen and he protected his girlfriend. Why would a simple robbery have any thing to do with a teenage girl? And if he knew what was to happen, why not go to police? or to his parents to warn them? Who the hell is Walter? Why is he not investigated? He seems to have some knowledge of this hit. Walter is never talked to or about beyond this interview.
It is ironic that when deputies arrived at the crime scene, Ashley Markham, Melanie’s daughter & her husband James “Blue” Markham were there. Justin was there by then. They told police about the video but it was Justin they asked to get the video because he was the only one there who knew how it worked. They didn’t wait for someone from in law enforcement to touch the video. They allowed the family to get the video. In a perfect world, the family would have no reason to do anything to skew evidence in a murder investigation, but this world isn’t perfect. Could there have been tampering? And if this surveillance system is so sophisticated that Ashley, Blue or any other learned person couldn’t figure it out, who was supposed to disable the cameras the way like every single one of the suspects said would happen? Justin, perhaps? But he is never looked at. Why? I’m just not understanding the breakdown of protocol from law enforcement. The family had roughly 30 minutes before the crime scene investigators got there. There were people walking around. No order to the scene. Is it possible some things were “taken” to not be found by the police? Is it possible things could have been altered to appear one way with another being the truth? From the beginning, this investigation is bungled.
Today, I want to take a second to reflect on this rabbit hole I have jumped into. I entered into this with intrigue & curiosity. I have never known anyone that was on national television, until July 2009. I was floored because it was just so surreal. Who sees an acquaintance on tv as a “mastermind” or “murderer”? It took my breath away. But then I thought about what I knew of Patrick. I knew him from working at Village Inn and through Katie Herkel who was became his first wife. I knew they had a daughter who was the spitting image of Patrick. I knew Patrick to be con-man full of hot air. He claimed this and claimed that. To be honest, I never believed anything he said. He was charismatic & he is a natural leader. I knew that his marriage to Katie went South and obviously it was a difficult divorce because of Bella. That’s it–until 2009 when I see him on television.
I watched all the news and read all the papers. I watched his trial–the entire 3 days of it. It sounds legitimate. The semblance of evidence was waved around. Sheriff Morgan made absolute statements there were no “alleged” or “suspects”; there was “certainty”, “conspiracy” & “murderers”. There were DEA & FBI involvement; then there wasn’t. Then Cab Tice was the ultimate mastermind, which never changed but Patrick became the “ring leader”. Ninja garb. Home Invasion.
Patrick is a professional mixed martial art master. I knew this through Katie. Why would he shoot someone it would be easier for someone with his skill set to use his obvious advantage? Why would someone bust into this compound to get money when knocking over the old guy with a $100,000 in a briefcase as he got out of his car at work or at any time when he was alone? Why bust through a house that they knew had cameras? Everyone of the suspects said that was supposed to be disarmed, implicating someone close to the family. Why would they go to this trouble to do this? This was not a robbery. This was a hit and a huge event that needn’t be that big. The man was 73 years old. He wasn’t in any condition to fight off a one on one attack.
Why would anyone do this anyway? Who is the person who gains the most? That’s Criminology 101. The family got the entirety of the estate. Why weren’t they ever looked at? It just didn’t make sense. None of it. This was supposed to be a “humdinger” according to Sheriff Morgan with a great deal of elements, but then it came down to a simple home invasion robbery. What? Simple? Robbery? None of this makes sense. Cab Tice was about to be prosecuted for stealing from Billings. Why wasn’t he looked at? He wasn’t even questioned until after Patrick was arrested. Justin Billings said within moments of the horrific murder of his parents without a shred of emotion that a man named Walter told him this was a hit by Colorado gang. What? A gang? A 73 year old man? What the hell is going on?
I know it’s not a stretch to find that paperwork in a high profile case goes missing. There is one report that encompasses the entire case. There is one document that will illuminate everything anyone needs to know about who killed the Billings’. One document that seems to be tossed aside by everyone as “impertinent”. It exists and it’s an elusive little bugger, but it is the Holy Grail of this case. This one document will show who the good guys and bad guys are. You might be surprised by the result. It is the single most important evidence that exists in this case. What is it? It is a DNA report of a pair of gloves on the “Classy Lady”. Byrd Billings’s blood is on those gloves. How do you suppose it got there? Could it have been any other time when he cut himself in the presence of Mr. & Mrs. Wiggins? Not likely. Whose DNA is on the inside of the glove? Well that’s the “humdinger”. It is Hugh Wiggins’s DNA.
Now what that tells me is that Hugh’s hand was in that glove when Byrd Billings was bleeding. From the security photos, we know the only one within proximity to have bloody hands would be the shooter. So who does that make the shooter? Patrick Gonzalez? Nope. This report that is “impertinent” or “irrelevant” is the smoking gun. Why was it never admitted to any case? Wouldn’t that shift the blame a little? Is this thinking unreasonable? Why hasn’t anyone jumped up to say “here’s all the evidence we need”?
The reason is simple. Hugh Wiggins drew the “get out of jail free” card. He was allowed to pass go & collect his $200 from the feds.
I have spent months trying to come up with the PERFECT blog post. Truth be told, there is nothing much new happening. That’s a damn shame considering a man is sitting in a cell smaller than most people’s bathrooms with his life hanging in a constant purgatory state of nothingness. But this is the first day of a new year and a new approach is in order. I resolve to blog every single day about this case. I want this case in everyone’s face–day in and day out. I have a new plan that I am working to persuade Pat to go along with. It’s a “humdinger” 🙂
The most dismal part of this story is that with all the news about the federal government “spying” on the people, makes the truth of this crime more palatable and credible. We all know the extent of the corruption of our civil liberties; why would it be such a stretch to think it would sacrifice a low level criminal? Patrick Gonzalez was the sacrificial lamb. As much of the of a stretch as that may be, it is the truth.
Not one single person who has spent any time in good ole P’cola is oblivious to the corruption in the car industry. Ciano, Mercer, Cassiano, & on the seedy side Billings. Cab Tice is in the mix somewhere and wanted to be the head honcho. He and Hugh Wiggins took out Billings. Wiggins sang like a canary to the feds & told nothing to Escambia County Sheriff’s Department, but then Bill Eddins got the “good ole boy” nudge to do what he had to do to appease the community from the feds. So with no evidence and only uncorroborated testimonies of 2 scared kids, Patrick Gonzalez sits on Death Row. Now here is the million dollar question…how could the community believe that line of bull? It took 3 trials before Stallworth was convicted and there was actual physical evidence that linked him to the murders. That didn’t exist in Patrick’s trial; yet a guilty verdict was reached by 12 people who were made to believed they were “doing the right thing” according to Sheriff Morgan. I posted just one of the videos of the “Great” sheriff tooting his own horn. It is funny that he definitively states he has no knowledge of DEA involvement in the Billings murder or on the periphery of the case, when there is documentation to the contrary.