Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan called a press conference in response to the CNN news report that the State Attorney’s Office was investigating whether the July 9 murders of Byrd and Melanie Billings were contract hits.
Morgan did admit that his agency was investigating the possibility of a contract hit, but, to date, that information is uncollaborated. He stated that their investigations are evidence-driven, and when the evidence is sufficient, arrests will be made.
He said the numbers of persons of interest in the Billings case changes daily, even hourly. It is part of the flow of the investigative process, says Morgan. His investigators are following all leads.
Morgan explained that that Sheriff’s Office will not release the names of persons of interest to avoid public embarrassment for those persons. However, his investigators will not ignore the possibility or probability of all leads, including whether the Billings murders were contract hits.
He reiterated that the ECSO investigation is evidence-driven and that more arrests will be made as the State Attorney’s Office is comfortable with the evidence presented by ECSO. And Sheriff Morgan did state that that there is a high probability that more arrests will be made in this case.
The Q/A part of the conference was interesting. Some of the reporters, particularly the AP reporter, were upset by the CNN report, my blog and my articles on The Daily Beast. They pushed Sheriff Morgan on whether these news reports were hurting the investigation. Morgan responded that he saw the media reports as part of the process and that the media has a different threshold for reporting than the he does.
Morgan ended his remarks with:
“I want to make clear to the people of Escambia County that this investigation will go where it goes, and anyone who aided or abetted in the commission of this crime we intend to bring to justice”