PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) A teenager charged in the murders of Byrd and Melanie Billings, who were known for adopting children with special needs, has pleaded no contest in the July 2009 home-invasion slayings that shocked this Florida panhandle community.
17-year-old Rakeem Florence, who faces life in prison, entered the plea on charges of second-degree murder and robbery with a firearm. He has agreed to testify against the other suspects in the killings. Six other men are charged with first-degree murder. A woman has been charged as an accessory.
The suspects are accused of killing the couple in their spacious home last summer while some of their nine young children with autism, Down syndrome and other special needs watched.
Suspect Florence was taken to Santa Rosa County Jail after Wednesday's plea. His attorney requested the transfer from another jail citing security reasons.
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