Patrick Gonzalez, Jr., considered the mastermind of the killings of Byrd “Bud” Billings and Melanie Billings, is also known as Patrick (Pat) Poff. His mother Terri married Joe Poff somewhere along the way and Pat legally changed his name to Patrick Poff. This post will remain a Leonard Patrick Gonzalez, Jr. profile page. See update
8-18-09 10-25-09 below.
The photo above shows Patrick Gonzalez, Jr. with his current wife, Tabatha. The Sheriff’s department has announced that they are planning to interview Tabatha today.
Patrick Leonard Gonzalez, Jr. has six sons. It is unknown whether or not Tabatha is the mother of the six boys. Patrick Gonzalez has a daughter, Mary Isabella Gonzalez, with a previous wife. According to a MySpace page set-up soley to locate “Bella,” his ex-wife and her family took Bella “against my will” “several years ago.” That entry is dated April 19, 2009. He shows that entry as Bella’s 8th birthday.
On this MySpace page he lists his status as “married” and says he is “here for serious relationships.” He shows his occupation as “Finding Mary Isabella Gonzalez.”
Terri and Joe Poff own and operate Poff’s Taekwondo Karate Schools, Inc. They have owned the schools for many years and Patrick has taught at the school, although there is no report of how often or how currently he taught there. Mr. and Mrs. Poff are not implicated in the murders of the Billings.
Some rumors say that he is estranged from his mother and stepfather, and after the estrangement, Patrick legally changed his name back to Leonard Patrick Gonzalez, Jr.
The Gulf Breeze News is reporting that Gonzalez, Jr. has an “extensive criminal history (certainly more than I’ve previously reported).
He previously was convicted on charges of home invasion, battery with a firearm, battery on a law enforcement officer and forgery.
CBS claims to have possession of a “confidential deposition” given by Gonzalez, Jr. He reportedly said that he was paid $150,000.00 for intelligence work in an unrelated case, for which he received “blanket immunity for his involvement.” Gonzalez said he did work as a “criminal counter measure expert” and he said he could not commit a crime, himself.
FOX10tv.com is reporting that Byrd Billings “helped finance a martial arts studio” for Leonard Patrick Gonzalez, Jr. The information was found in a warranted search of the van considered the get-away van. It is not clear which “martial arts” studio this refers to. Gonzalez, Jr., had a non-profit business known as FIGHTBack. His mother and stepfather, Terri and Joe Poff have owned Poff Taekwondo for many years.
A suspect in the Byrd and Melanie Billings murders has reportedly told police that Leonard Patrick Gonzalez, Jr. was the sole shooter in the killings. It appears from that report that it may have been 19-year-old Frederick Thornton who gave the police the information, but it is not entirely clear that the report came from Thornton. Thornton told police that after the murders all the suspects met up at the Magnolia Antique Mall, owned by “Pam” (Pamela Wiggins). Thornton said the safe taken from the Billings home was driven in the get-away van to Wiggins’ red minivan.
Wayne Coldiron, also under arrest for the murders named “Pam” as the driver of a maroon minivan.
Frederick Thornton and Gary Sumner, also under arrest, then got into Sumner’s blue SUV and drove to Wiggins’ antique mall for the meeting.
Latest reports are Leonard Patrick Gonzalez, Jr. may have planned a contract hit on the Billings, while the others in the murdered couple’s home that night might have thought it was only a home invasion robbery. Gonzalez, Jr. is considered to be the lone shooter.
I am still awaiting news of Gonzalez, Jr.’s wife Tabatha? What did she know? Did she consent to talk to the Sheriff. See below for new information on Tabatha/Tabitha Gonzalez.
Documents have been released about the last minutes of Mr. and Mrs. Billings lives:
From Pensacola News Journal:
The documents released Monday reveal:
–Byrd Billings struggled against the five intruders in his home, grabbing one of them by the neck. Two suspects remained outside.
–His body, found in the master bedroom, had six bullet wounds — one in the back of each leg, two in the face and two in the back of the head. A white zip tie was on his left arm.
–Melanie Billings was shot five times — twice in the chest and three times in the face and head. Her body was found in a hallway leading out of the master bedroom.
— A child — one of the couple’s nine adopted children with special needs — said that “bad men” woke his father and told him “You’re gonna die.” He watched as his mother was “shot in her shirt.”
–While intruders drove away with a small portable safe containing only medicine and family jewelry and papers, a second green gun safe with $164,000 in $100 bills sat undisturbed in a second-floor room.
Update 8-18-09 (see details above in yesterday’s update):
An adopted 10 year old son with Down syndrome was in the bedroom of Byrd and Melanie Billings when masked gunmen entered the room and shot his parents.
The documents released yesterday state that Justin Billings, the 20 year old son of Byrd and Melanie gave police information the day after the murders. Justin is being linked in some ways with Patrick Poff Gonzalez, Jr.
In another statement released in the documents, investigators interviewed Justin Billings, Byrd and Melanie Billings’ 20 year old son. The day after his parents were killed, Justin Billings told investigators he believed his parents’ murders were contract killings, and he pointed his finger at a gang from Colorado.
“One of my friends from Colorado. He has, he has a rat that’s part of a gang,” Justin told investigators. “He said there was a hit in Florida that fit the description that I gave him.”
The mother of Justin Billings’ ex-girlfriend told detectives the 20 year old told her he paid someone $3,000 to protect her daughter, which Justin denied.
“I didn’t pay anyone,” he said.
“Then why would you say something like that,” the detective asked. “To give her closure,” Justin replied.
During the interview, investigators clearly became frustrated at one point saying “Bulls*** Justin. Justin, that’s not gonna fly.”
Justin Billings told investigators he believed the one person who would want his dad dead was Cab Tice.
Tice, who Justin described as a former business partner who sold cars with his dad “down to Mexico”, was arrested August 6 and charged with stealing thousands of dollars from one of Byrd Billings’ businesses. Tice was named a person of interest, but he has not been charged in the murders.
Update 8-18-09: Portions from Sheriff’s Discover Documents:
About the children in the home at the time of the murders (the “W” beside each name indicates “witness:”
“While securing the house, two kids were found in the northwest upstairs bedroom. One child was found in the southwest upstairs bedroom. Once child was found in the southeast upstairs bedroom. One child was found in the southeast bedroom. One child was found in a bassinet in the room east of the kitchen. One child was found in the downstairs hallway and two adult victims were found in the master bedroom on the north side first floor. The children were later identified by RP/April Spencer to be W/Victoria Billings, W/Mathew Billings, W/Jacob Billings, W/Emma Billings, W/Ethan Billings, W/Kaitlyn Billings, W/Nicholas Billings, and W/Adrianna Billings.”
This same report says that the child who notified the neighbor April Spencer, of the murders, was Adrianna Billings. Adrianna said to April:
“Come over. Mom and dad are dead on the floor.”
From the Sheriff’s Investigative report in an interview with Tabitha Gonzalez, dated July 20, 2009. Tabitha/Tabatha is the wife of Leonard Patrick Poff Gonzalez, Jr.:
This portion concerns Tabitha’s description of her and her husband’s relationship with Hugh and Pamela Long Wiggins – she is talking to Investigator Robert Guy and tells him they have rented from Pamela Wiggins for about a year:
Guy: How did ya’ll wind up meeting Pamela Long, tell how that relationship come about?
TG: …my husband is friends with Hugh Wiggins
Guy: …So, so Pat knew Hugh?
TG: Uh, huh
She went on to say that they “knew each other from a long time ago. Guy asks how close the couple:
TG: Well, we were friends, I mean we went to barbeques and stuff like that to their house and she would go out of town with Hugh when he went to and came back to go his things for school and we would watch her daughter and would take her to karate and make sure she was okay.”
Tabatha says Pamela’s daughter is 13 years old. She also says she has helped Pamela rent out properties – “she has a place on the beach and the houses and I help clean them and rent them out…I’ve painted….” She talks about the self-defense business she and her husband had…said they no longer had a studio due to the economy…said they had to borrow some money to get into the building in the beginning. She mentions a name: Steve Manatat – a student of Patrick’s.
She said Cab Tice loaned them money (Tice is now under arrest – see links below).
Guy asked: “did Pat ever talk about about Mr. Billings? She says that “Cab” introduced them, and said Billings donated $5,000 to the couple’s Project Fight Back non-profit business. She said Billings wanted to help invest in the business.
Tabitha says “Jerry Wood invested in the school.” …he was a friend…at one time a student but mainly a friend. She says she met Billing once, was never at his house. She indicated she and her husband are friends with the “Manatats.”
She talks more about Hugh Wiggins: She says “a lot of times he was in school,” but came home to work on a boat and was home for 2 weeks out of the month. She said her husband, Patrick hung out at Pam’s house.
Tabitha said Pam’s boat was in Patrick’s name because Pam was afraid it would be repossessed. She said Pam wanted Patrick to see to that her daughter was taken care of if anything happened to her. Tabitha said she did not want her name on the boat.
Tabitha indicated that she has a lot of Pam’s rental business records for the beach house on her own computer.
On the day of the murders, Guy asks her to recount her day. Patrick was known to be in a Wal-Mart with two black males that day and was seen on video with them.
Tabitha said she met her husband inside the store but did not see the two black males. Investigator Guy says Patrick is even holding one of their children, in the company of the two black males at the check-out. She continues to deny that she knew her husband has these two men with him Wal-Mart.
Guy asks her about Pamela’s son Casey…says he is about 20 years old…has a “little baby,” indicates her husband knew Casey well.
They talk about Hugh Wiggins’ cream or white van. She knew the white van. She said she has known Hugh for 1-1/2 years.
Tabitha Gonzalez says she has a prior 10-year marriage to Brandon Fausti.
NOTE: All major updates are first added to my original post on the Billings murders, and then addeded to other relevant articles about the case:
Photo courtesy WKRG.com
Background and Related: