July 13, 2009 — -- A man detained by cops for driving with an expired license was identified as a suspect in the killing of a Florida couple known for adopting disabled children, bringing the number of people arrested in the expanding case to four.
Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said this evening that day laborer Gary Lamont Sumner was being held in Okaloosa County, Fla., and would likely be brought to Escambia County Tuesday.
He said he expects more arrests to be "imminent," including another likely to happen Tuesday.
"We hope to bring all the suspects we have identified to justice very shortly," he said.
Sumner was picked up in a routine traffic stop, and was held after police determined he matched the description of one of the suspects in the killings of Byrd and Melanie Billings in their Beulah, Fla., home July 9, Morgan said.
The descriptions of the suspects had been put together from surveillance video from the Billings' home that showed five men entering and leaving the house, and from witnesses, he said.
Still hunting for at least three men and trying to determine the motives behind a crime that shocked the small rural town, investigators have been questioning the suspects in custody, he said.
"We're getting cooperation from all quarters," Morgan said when asked if those men were helping the investigation. "I'll let it go at that."
Earlier today, Morgan said that the "mastermind" who allegedly led as many as seven accomplices to rob and murder Byrd and Melanie Billings had been identified and arrested.
At the later news conference he reiterated that robbery was just one of the motives in the double murder case.
"We have a motive of robbery ... that is a motive," Morgan said. "We believe there are other motives."
At the earlier news conference, the sheriff also gave new details about the precision of the home invasion during which Byrd and Melanie Billings were murdered in their bedroom on July 9.
One team of two three men entered the front of the house while another team of two men, all dressed in black ninja gear, entered through an unlocked back door of the home, he said.
The sheriff marveled at the speed of the attack, saying the invaders were in and out of the house in less than four minutes.
"This was a well-planned, methodical operation," said Morgan. "There was planning that went into this operation."
Morgan declined to say whether the intruders entered the house with "an intent to kill."
He also would not say whether the people who killed Byrd and Melanie Billings took anything from the house.