PENSACOLA, Fla. (CBS/AP) A jury has recommended that a karate instructor get the death penalty for murdering a wealthy Florida couple Byrd and Melanie Billings while their nine special-needs children cowered or slept nearby.
The jurors voted 10-2 Friday that Patrick Gonzalez Jr. be executed for last year's murder of the couple in their Florida Panhandle home.
Under Florida law, Judge Nicholas Geeker will impose the sentence later but must give the jury's recommendation "great weight."
Gonzalez is a 36-year-old father of six.
The same jury of 11 women and one man deliberated about five hours before finding Gonzalez guilty Thursday of two counts of first-degree murder and one count of home-invasion robbery for leading the July 9, 2009, attack on the Billings' Beulah, Fla. home.
The men with Gonzalez that night testified that he told them that a safe in the home contained $13 million that Byrd Billings obtained by working for the Mexican mafia. The invaders did make off with a safe but it contained nothing of value. A second safe that they missed contained $164,000, court records show.
According to autopsy reports, Melanie Billings, 43, was shot twice in her chest, and in the face and head. Byrd Billings, 66, was shot multiple times in the head and legs. The crime scene photos show dozens of bullet holes throughout the living room and bedroom and a trail of blood along the living room floor.
The couple had adopted nine children with varying special needs ranging from Down syndrome to fetal alcohol syndrome and autism.