Corruption is a word people use but do not fully appreciate. Corruption means deviation from morality, honor and duty. It destroys political legitimacy. We have a system in place that puts trusted people in positions to make decisions for us and to keep our society the place it is. When that trust is severed for personal gain, we all lose. Not only have we been duped by a con-artist, but we have been robbed of our ability to discern who is for us and who be against us.
A case in point is my interest in the Billings Murder case. As a person who wants to not only understand the tragedy of the murder of these two people, but to understand how the disposition of the case could have gone so horribly wrong. What evidence led to the incarceration of 8 people whom the state claims to be guilty, when the initial evidence points to an entirely different direction? Whether you believe my questions are legitimate or not, if I am barking up the wrong tree, whose time am I wasting besides my own?
Victimology is essential to law enforcement. Why was this person killed? Was it greed? Jealous? Business? Insurance Money? These all help gauge who committed the crime. Bud Billings lifestyle must be understood. Here is an excerpt that perfectly describes the circumstance of this case.
“The Proximity hypothesis suggests that crime is less a function of life-style, but rather is based on close proximity…In a related concept is the equivalent group hypothesis, which points out that criminals and victims overall share similar characteristics because they are not entirely separate groups. People who commit crimes are probably at higher risk for victimization, both because of proximity to other criminals and because of their own lifestyles, which involve going out at night and associating with other young males who are involved in crime. In such associations, they place themselves at risk for becoming the victim of crimes themselves. Some support for this concept comes from research that indicates that crime victims as a group self-report a high amount of criminal activity. This hypothesis does not indicate that all victims are criminals, but that criminals as a group are at higher risk for becoming victims at some point because of the high-risk nature of their activities and associations.
So when I reached out to Andrea McDermott to gain some perspective as to what the situation around the family was at the time of the murders, I was surprised to get a response. It must be understood that I have reached out to everyone. Very few people respond for one reason or another. I told Andrea I got Bud’s FBI file last week. I am aware of the his conviction for trafficking in stolen vehicles in 1987 and some of the other “loosy lou” practices he had with odometers and cars that he acquired that “fell off a truck”.
I also shared my on-going suspicions about Justin and Blue. Andrea felt similarly. She asked me what I planned to do with the information she was giving me and I said I was looking for the truth, which is the truth. She reluctantly started sharing her perspective looking at the family from the standpoint of someone within the inner realm. After all, as Melanie’s lifelong friend, she was privy to many details that were innate to the family that strangers may never know. Certainly, she was unsettled by the dispensation of the case. There were elements that just did not jive with what she knew to be true and now her friend has been murdered and every fiber within her was screaming “there is a misrepresentation of the facts”. So when I asked questions, she answered because she believes people, who were at least accomplices in some capacity, got away with murder. She discussed things with Rick Outzen who wrote an article hinting at things but he never put the concerns she had out there. We all know Outzen’s integrity. He wants the truth but only if it does not reflect badly on his buddies, Eddins and Morgan, which this would.
Andrea began telling me about how Bud’s bad heart and age had made his dealings in the car business laborious. He planned on shifting it to Blue and Ashley. After beginning to do just that, everything started falling apart. He realized they did not have ability to maintain this business and his hands in money laundering, which is a common knowledge fact among everyone around Bud, required that this business run in perpetuity to fulfill his obligations with Mexican criminal elements, or cartels. Ashley and Blue were going to get him killed, screwing with the Mexican’s money. So he took the business back from them. Blue and Ashley were on the verge of divorce. Blue was losing his “gravy train”. Bud’s intention was to sell off his business because that would be the only way out of his debacle.
Now the speculation comes in here. Do the cartels get nervous about the business changing hands with their participation woven into the fabric of the business or could Blue and Ashley have put their differences aside to try to reclaim the business from Bud? Either scenario creates a concern about Bud. Murder has been committed for far less motives than ensuring the perpetuation of financial stability by the cartel or Blue and Ashley.
Add another dimension to this. Justin. What is Justin’s story? He had a fight about a week before where he was relegated to a trailer on the property–not to be in the house. What was the fight about? We can imagine money or Justin’s future as a 20 year old. There are a number of different things that create friction between a father and his son. But what makes this situation different is the reasoning of this fight. This fight was about Justin inappropriately touching of one of the special needs girls. That was the fight and is a pattern of behavior that spans back to inappropriate acts with Nikki, Ashley’s daughter with CP. There was an inappropriate relationship that was there that made military school necessary to get Justin out of this house. At roughly $2-3K in SSI, state assistance via cash and food stamps PER KID, if someone in the house is “suspected” of inappropriate behavior, those kids are going to be taken by the State. Justin was a loose cannon and a liability to the family.
This becomes a Pandora’s box of issues within the house. Over the years, Bud was accused of inappropriate sexual conduct with some of the older girls in the house. Ashley made the statement to people that she had been raped as a young teenager. Sex abuse does not “pop” up in a house. It is typically learned behavior. People who were sexual abused will either sexually abuse others or they will internalize their rage and self destruct without proper therapy and in some case that happens in lieu of therapy. So to hear that Bud was accused in the past is not unbelievable because both Justin’s and Ashley’s actions are manifestations of sexual abuse and the common denominator is Bud.
Actions taken by Justin immediately after, led the people closest to him, Ashley, Patricia Bosco, and Cambra Lee, question whether he was involved. They all accused Justin to the police regarding his behavior prior to and after the murder, but no one has to take their word for it. Look at the Youtube videos. Within minutes of his parents’ brutal murder, Justin is calm, emotionless, talking a bullshit story and when tested, he has gunshot residue on his hands. A thing that is not easily transferable. I found this info on the FBI.gov site (https://leb.fbi.gov/2011/may/the-current-status-of-gsr-examinations).
…A comprehensive analysis of the sample can eliminate false positives, leaving GSR as the only possible source. In this area, recent research and studies in the search for false positives have only brought about increased confidence in characterizing particles as GSR.
Justin showed up after deputies arrived. That is documented. He had neither access to the gun at his parents’ home (as he contends) nor the bodies of his parents that are the only reasonable explanations of transfer gunshot residue. In the absence of that, the trace amount is pertinent. The deputies dismissed this because of an overgeneralized understanding of the crime scene and a flimsy excuse of handling of fireworks. In some cases, fireworks have some forms of gunpowder in them, but the testing used would not pick up this type of powder as it is organically, chemically different that true residue left by a fired gun. Primarily different in the shavings of metal that are microscopically ejected in the process of firing a gun. An excerpt from the following book, can more carefully explain this fact. Scientific Foundations of Crime Scene Reconstruction: Introducing Method to Mayhem, By Jon J. Norby
So you have these people in the inner circle of Bud Billings who had issues with Bud. To eliminate them WITHOUT investigating any angle or scenario pertaining to them is just reckless. Law Enforcement 101…the people closest are the ones who are more likely to be involved in any act of violence. They have intimate knowledge of people, routines, possible reactions and overall circumstances which can be exploited in opportunistic timing. That is not just TV logic. That is criminalistics.
Color me surprised when Andrea mentioned to me that she had been warned that talking to me may not be a good idea. Why? I am just looking for some understanding of the crime. Who is ok with a justice system that allows people involved in a murder to go free? Is it really wrong to want to see the guilty people punished? In this case, new people, implicated into the crime means that some of the people accused were wrongly accused. I say this because we have X number of participants in this crime. If you put the people that admit to being there, the ones linked to the crime by corroborating evidence (not false confessions) and people now believed to be involved, knowing the circumstances of the family, the entire narrative put out for public consumption, begins to fall apart. The next question is why? Why was a false story with bits of truth sprinkled delivered to the media? Why would law enforcement (ie Sir David) misrepresent facts about this crime? Why is it a problem to bring the actual facts to light? Who benefits by not investigating this crime?
Let’s go back to these pictures:
Outside of this case, how many times have you seen Sheriff Morgan hug and console a grieving family member after a murder? I would wager that number is zero. If the public did not know it prior to this case, these pictures speak volumes. There seems to be a personal relationship here. These people were not strangers thrown into a situation who were not known to each other. Pensacola is a small town. I can link together one particular link in Arety Kapatanis. Arety was a supporter of Morgan’s first election and she was close to Bud Billings. Had someone come to Morgan with the best interest of the family, perhaps in a PR situation, asking that the family laundry not be aired in this investigation? Possibly. But that should not prevent it from being investigated.
I can understand trying to preserve family dignity completely and maybe as a favor, Morgan agreed to spare a family as well as other people close to his money (ie Arety) from the public ridicule of having to put the Bud’s businesses in public like the career of laundering money, the entire business with the cartels, the “inappropriateness” of relationships in the family, Ashley’s marriage that is falling apart, Blue being halfway out the door after the business debacle and the other general family dysfunction. This is the general state of the family at the time of the murder, according to Andrea. Why wouldn’t she have reservations when none of these things have been looked at and had to have something to do with the intimacy of this crime?
The damnedest things about all of this is that Andrea, like myself, can’t seem to express these concerns because of a narcissistic Sheriff who slam dunked this huge case in less than 1 week’s time. He did this without a point person heading the investigation effectively, without records of interviews, without investigators conferring with each other and all of them on their own little mission within this three-ring circus and while Morgan is making hourly appearances on the news. Suddenly while people are scrambling around a phone call comes from a man who is concerned the van on TV is his that he sold to Terri Poff. But the truth of the matter is they have a van in close proximity to the crime scene that is abandoned. They already have it.
Being good investigators, someone checks it out. They approach a mentally unstable man who has been up for 3 days cooking meth in the van they are looking to investigate. Of course, his reaction was panic. Of course, he was trying to cover it and after seeing the news, he thinks he is going to be linked to this murder. He’s a paranoid schizophrenic. He would have thought he was being linked if the van had looked nothing like the one on tv. He was high and paranoid. During this time frame, Patrick’s (Gonzalez Jr.) name came up in the ECSO. This leads to a shit storm of speculation of involvement. Then after hours of interviews Lenny confesses to the crime in some way. He would have confessed to most anything after the number of hours of interviews, which were unlogged, catalogued or recorded in any way. This is the point where just enough truth and speculation merge with opportunity. I say that because no one could predict the reaction, sleep depravity and severity of the mental illness of Leonard Gonzalez Sr. That was pure luck and it was the catalyst that propelled the story of Morgan’s first official high profile case, that was solved with all the deputies going 60 different ways up until the moment Tama Barber swears, under oath and cross-examination, that they encounter people telling them about the suspects on TV. A measure of ye Old Sheriff that corrupts the investigation by having everyone and their mother seeing and knowing something. It also denies justice when people who haven’t even been questioned are put on TV and asserted as being the people who did this horrible crime. From that point on, investigators chase the story on the news to which they find enough truth to railroad 8 people while leaving the people with the motives, Ashley, Blue, Justin & Cab, and people with incriminating evidence in their possession that cannot be explained away, Hugh Wiggins, who had the gun, bloody gloves and the only thing taken from the robbery. Would you find comfort if this were the case and it was your family on a slab? Why would anyone think Andrea’s questions or mine are a threat to anything? If we believed space aliens did this, no one would give it a second thought, right? But because the speculation IS possible and because this does make sense, it threatens the status quo of what Pensacola knows about this crime. It also dents Sir David’s armor that he shined up real pretty for the cameras. Would he really look back at his investigation as a genuine effort find justice? HELL NO!