7 defendants plead not guilty in slaying of Florida couple who adopted special needs children

7 plead not guilty to slaying Fla. couple at home

PENSACOLA, Fla. — Seven suspects are pleading not guilty to first-degree murder charges in the slaying of a Florida couple who adopted 13 children, many with special needs.

The six men and a 16-year-old boy charged as an adult appeared in court in Pensacola on Thursday for the first time since a grand jury indicted them this week.

The men could face the death penalty and the teen could get life in prison if convicted n the July 9 robbery and killing.

Byrd and Melanie Billings were shot to death in their sprawling home west of Pensacola. Surveillance video showed men dressed as ninjas and wearing masks entering the home through front and rear doors.

The judge set trial dates in October and November. But prosecutors said it could take longer to bring the complex case to court.


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