At 6 p.m. Sheriff Morgan appears on “CNN Headline Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell.”
After teasing the viewers about segments on the death of pop star Michael Jackson and the latest episode of the Jon and Kate melodrama, Velez-Mitchell milks the Billings story intro as only CNN Headline News can, “Fast breaking developments and more arrests in the horrific double murder of a Florida couple dedicated to helping special needs children. A squad of criminals in ninja garb gunned down the couple in their own home. What was the motive for this monstrosity?”
CNN shows a clip of Sheriff Morgan telling Ashley that the ECSO has found the men responsible for her parents’ death, followed by a clip of Patrick Gonzalez during his court appearance saying that it wasn’t him.
Then Velez-Mitchell introduces on a split screen her panel of “experts”: Curtis Sliwa, founder of the “Guardian Angels;” WABC Radio talk show host David Schwartz, a criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor; Brenda Wade, psychologist; Rob Williams, morning host of the Pensacola station, 1620 AM.
She introduces the sheriff, “I am very honored to have with me tonight, Sheriff David Morgan. Sheriff, first of all, congratulations on a swift and fantastic job tracking down the monsters who allegedly did this.
“How in God`s name did they commit double murder and find this safe in only about four minutes? There`s got to be something else at work, they had to know possibly where that safe was and where to find it, no?”
Morgan congratulations and praise his investigations unit for making the arrests within 96 hours of the murders. He points out that the investigators found that the suspects had in fact trained together.
“Some of them up to 30 days, they trained together for this operation,” says Morgan. “They knew what they were going for when they entered the compound. And as we`ve said all along, it was a well-executed, well-planned operation.”
Velez-Mitchell points out the military backgrounds of Sumner and Stallworth and that the suspects stormed into the Billings house were dressed in black outfits and mask.
“And you have to say for what? For what did they think was going to be in that safe that was so important that all of them had to do this? It`s so excessive… it feels too personal to be simply robbery.”
Morgan says that it was about robbery, but he hints at more.
“A motive was robbery, but, yes, there are other things I`m sure that will come to light and come into play as this case progresses.”
He adds, “We`ve been asked by the state attorney Mr. Bill Eddins to tell the public that the primary focus and motive was robbery.”
Then Velez-Mitchell shifts to her “expert” panel. Curtis Sliwa calls the suspects “amateurs” for not taking out the surveillance cameras.
She asks the Pensacola morning radio host about the press conference. Williams replies, “Well, what we know is that there`s been a very tight hold on the information we`re getting from the Sheriff`s Office and the State Attorney`s office.”
He gives his theories. “They took a medium-size to say, maybe they needed three or four guys to carry a medium-size safe out of the house. But what we don`t know what was in the safe, was it just cash? Was it gold, jewelry? There`s just no way of telling right now.”
David Schwartz, the attorney, is asked about Patrick Gonzalez’s court appearance and starts talking about “degrees of culpability.”
From there is gets worse. Velez-Mitchell turns the clinical psychologist, Brenda Wade, and asks, “Is this just sheer stupidity? It seems to me that this is a stupid factor gone tragic.”
“Jane, I don`t know if it`s stupidity or not,” says Wade. “But what I do know is that we are seeing some very bizarre crimes linked to people being willing to do truly horrific things for money.”
Wade, in a few short minutes, has psychoanalyzed Patrick and his fellow suspects.
“The only conclusion I can reach is that we have a group of people here who are the outsiders outside society who probably grew-up in some way feeling outside, unloved, unwanted because their behavior is so terrifically anti-social behavior.”
Williams, the morning show host turned philosopher, injects “Money is the oldest motive around, Jane. It`s the oldest motive. They are out forever.”
Velez-Mitchell ends this circus.
“Yes, you`re absolutely right. It makes me sick to my stomach. I`m just happy that the cops broke this case. Thank you everyone for the wonderful analysis.
“The Jackson family reality show completed shooting before the “King of Pop” died. So what will happen to all the footage?
“Jon Gosselin takes his new gal pal across the globe while Kate stays home with the eight kids. Is he the villain in this real life soap opera? 1-877-JVM-SAYS, call me. I want to hear what you have to say.”
HIDING A SAFE
While CNN Headline News’ experts were analyzing that which they knew very little about, Investigators Chris Baggett and Tom Watts were interviewing Marquita Scruggs, a female friend of Donnie Stallworth, Jr. Earlier in the day, Baggett had been contacted by Air Force Office Special Investigator Agent Christian Gripp about possible information Scruggs might have on the Billings case.
Baggett and Watts interview Scruggs at Gripp’s office on Hurlburt Air Force Base. She says that she had received a text message from Stallworth sometime over the July 4th weekend about him committing a robbery.
Scruggs says that Stallworth had asked her to leave the backdoor of her house open so that he could put a safe in it. He texted her on Friday, July 3 that he was going to do the robbery on Saturday night. She didn’t hear from him again until she spoke with him on Monday night at her office.
“He informed me that he did a robbery and him a few other guys had picked up over $300,000 and his cut would be $70,000.”
According to Scruggs, Stallworth said he had walked into a room with more money than he had ever seen. The guy with him knocked him on the back of the head to knock some sense back him. He just started grabbing money and placed it in a bag. He hadn’t gotten his cut yet, but he expected to get that weekend and would take her shopping. Stallworth did say that he was scared and was unable to sleep.
She thinks the robbery was in Pensacola because he had also told her that he had spent the weekend in Pensacola “chilling out with his boys.” She doesn’t know the names of his boys, except he talks about the owner of the paint shop.
Scruggs says that Stallworth had been talking about the robberies for about a month.
He said that he wanted to put the safe in her house because “I’m the person that he could trust with money and know that it’s not gonna be taken from him.” She says that Stallworth had said that he would throw me a few hundred dollars.
“I’m a single parent. I always need money for anything.”
She thinks drugs are sold out of the shop based on conversations with Sgt. Stallworth., who had told her that he would be straight after doing these robberies and he would be able to help her out.
Copyright © 2009 Rick Outzen