The reporters today also viewed 2076 crime scene photos that were not only of the murder scene, but also of the home of Leonard “Lenny” Gonzalez, the vehicles used and the Wiggins’ backyard where the safe was buried under debris. The photos filled two volumes. Many were repetitive.
The photos of Bud and Melanie Billings were particularly gruesome, leaving me queasy after I set the volumes aside. In college, I worked one summer as an orderly in a hospital emergency room. I learned to turn part of myself off and not react to the gore, but the emotions still creep in.
Bud was lying face down in a pool of his blood at the foot of the bed, near the doorway into the master bedroom. There were two bullet holes in the back of his head. A picture of Melanie’s second daughter, Nicole, was face down under one of his legs.
In an interior hallway that led away from the bedroom was Melanie lying face up. She had bled from his mouth, nose, ears and eyes. Her Elton John t-shirt was soaked with blood just below her neck. One sandal was missing from her feet.
After seeing those photos I can agree with the judge’s decision not allow these to be published before the trial.
The photographs were also of mundane things, things that also made an impression on me.
Above the headboard of Bud and Melanie’s bed was painted the phrase: “Just one lifetime won’t be enough for us.”
There was a TV in the bedroom that was inset in the wall that displayed views from the surveillance system so the intruders would have known the cameras were working when they took Bud and Melanie into the master bedroom.
In a closet (which I assume was Bud’s) was a black briefcase – could that be the briefcase that Cab Tice told the investigators that Bud always carried around with $20K inside it? There is a photo of another briefcase that was found elsewhere that looks like it contained folders – I will have to check the investigator’s reports to better understand those photos.
The second safe was huge one inset into the wall. It contained a strand of pearls and lockbox with money among other things.
The stairway that led upstairs had a gate. There were red plastic cartons on the stairs, probably to put the kids’ things from them to take upstairs later.
Near the bedroom was a wooden cabinet with a glass door that displayed four shelves of Hummel figurines.
In the kitchen was a slice of freshly cut watermelon near the sink.
Both doors used to gain access to the house showed signs of forced entry, like that they had been kicked at or near the dead bolts.
While the downstairs appeared cluttered and very lived in, the cameras in the bedrooms of the children showed rooms that were quite barren. One bedroom had a mirror on the floor. Another had child playing on a mattress that had been pulled off its frame.