Albany native charged in Florida killings - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Albany native charged in Florida killings

Pamela Long Coco Wiggins (Source:  Escambia County Sheriff) Pamela Long Coco Wiggins (Source: Escambia County Sheriff)
Melanie and Byrd Billings (Source: NBC News) Melanie and Byrd Billings (Source: NBC News)
41-year-old Wayne Coldiron and 35-year-old Leonard Gonzalez, Jr. (Source: NBC News) 41-year-old Wayne Coldiron and 35-year-old Leonard Gonzalez, Jr. (Source: NBC News)

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -  An Albany native is the eighth suspect arrested in the north Florida slayings of Melanie and Byrd Billings.

The parents of 17 children were shot to death in their home last Thursday.

Forty-seven year old Pamela Long Coco Wiggins was arrested Wednesday night and charged with being an accessory after the fact of murder.

Wiggins was born and raised in Albany. She owned several pieces of rental property, at one time filed for bankruptcy, and got a divorce here in 1992.

Her mother, Doris Long, still lives in Albany.

Investigators in Florida believe she was the landlord of one of the killers in the Florida case.

Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan says Pamela Wiggins has been charged with accessory after the fact to felony murder. Morgan would not give any details on why she was charged.

Morgan says was arrested after being questioned with her lawyer for several hours.

Melanie and Byrd Billings, known for adopting children with special needs, were shot to death a week ago.

An extensive surveillance system captured footage of masked men - some dressed as ninjas - slipping into front and back doors at the home.

Authorities were concerned about Long's safety because she hadn't been heard from in about two days.

Sheriff Morgan says police in Orange Beach, Ala., found her in or near a marina about 30 miles from Pensacola on Wednesday afternoon.

Morgan says she is friends with and rented property to Leonard Gonzalez, Jr., one of the suspects charged with murder in the case.

41-year-old Wayne Coldiron and 35-year-old Leonard Gonzalez, Jr. are charged in the murder. Gonzalez's father, Leonard Gonzalez, Sr. was charged as an accomplice.

Authorities investigating the slayings say someone who was supposed to disable the surveillance system before the break-in at their sprawling home never showed up. The crime was captured by a surveillance camera system on their property.

Sheriff Morgan says the home invasion that left Byrd and Melanie Billings dead was carried out like a military operation, which would be consistent with some of those charged in the case.

"There are a couple of suspects with paramilitary background," Morgan said in a Tuesday afternoon press conference.  

Investigators still believe robbery was the motive.  "They did take items you'd normally expect to be taken in a robbery," said Florida State Attorney Bill Eddins.

Those items included a safe, but what was in it, they won't say.

The sheriff has also turned over to federal agents information that some of the suspects might be connected to a bigger criminal network.  "I will tell you it involves other businesses, other states, other countries," he said. 

Several of the suspects had their first court appearances Tuesday. All are being charged with First Degree Murder.


 

©2009 WALB News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.  The Associated Press and NBC news contributed to this report.  

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