Fla. Murder Suspect's Criminal Past

This is the booking photo of Leonard Patrick Gonzalez Jr. released by the Escambia County Sheriff Department, Pensacola, Fla. Monday, July 13, 2009 AP Photo

Documents obtained exclusively by CBS News shed light on the mindset and criminal past of the lead suspect in the grisly murder of a Florida couple who provided a home to 17 children.

Leonard Patrick Gonzalez, Jr. , 35, has been accused of being the "organizer" in the murders of Byrd and Melanie Billings in Beulah, Florida on July 9. So far, eight persons have been arrested in those murders, including Gonzalez, who is being held without bond.

Pamela Long Wiggins, the only woman charged in the case, was arrested earlier this week in Alabama. Wiggins may have personal ties to Gonzalez, the alleged mastermind of the robbery-murder attack.

CBS News has exclusively obtained the confidential deposition of Gonzalez Jr. in an unrelated case in Pensacola, Florida.

Gonzalez Jr. was subpoenaed by the State Attorney's office and granted blanket immunity for his involvement in that case.

During the October 30, 2008 deposition, Gonzalez, Jr. describes how his criminal past started when he was only 17 years old and violated his probation. He credits his criminal history for preparing him for the job he held at the time, which he described as "criminal counter-measures."

"Had I not committed those crimes and suffered and paid the consequences, I wouldn't be able to do the job that I do now," Gonzalez, Jr. told James Jenkins, the criminal defense attorney who was taking his deposition.

Gonzalez, Jr. received $150,000 for providing "intelligence" services from January through April of 2008, according to Jenkins.

During the deposition Gonzalez characterized himself this way:

-- I had a colorful background and if you want to call it a misspent youth. I worked as a body guard for several people in the area and I did do some criminal countermeasures work.

-- I understand the criminal thought processes. I can help people to decide what's the best measure they should take to protect themselves and their families and businesses.

-- I was interested in starting a company, UDT Institute. It stands for Ultimate Defensive Tactics Institute, which would provide criminal countermeasures training to wealthy individuals.

In the deposition, he also described himself as an advocate for victimized children. And interestingly said at one point, "I couldn't commit a crime."

Gonzalez and six of the alleged accomplices are charged with murder and scheduled for a grand jury hearing where the case will be presented by Florida state Attorney Bill Eddins.
  • Yvonne Halee

Comments

CBSN Live

pop-out
Live Video

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.