One moment, they were sleeping peacefully in their Florida home. The next, they were innocent victims of a methodical murder plot.

On July 9, 2009, gunmen broke into Melanie and Byrd "Bud" Billings' home and killed them while they lay in bed. Bud was shot six times, and Melanie took five bullets to the chest, face and head.

Melanie and Bud weren't the only ones at home that night. Nine adopted children with special needs, members of the Billingses' large, loving family, were sleeping nearby.

Ashley Markham, their 27-year-old daughter who lives outside the home, remembers the day vividly. "I called the house about 7:30, and that's when Jacob answered," she says. "Jacob was very distraught."

Then, Jacob, Ashley's 10-year-old adopted brother with Down syndrome, handed the telephone to his autistic sister, Adrianna, who told Ashley their parents were laying on the floor.

Confused and scared, Ashley called 911 while she drove to her parents' house. "I remember pulling up outside the fence, and the yard was taped off," she says. "There were so many police officers, and nobody knew what was going on."

Further investigation led to a chilling discovery. The security cameras Melanie and Bud had installed to watch over their adopted children caught the moments before the murders on tape.


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