The Mansion Murders of Byrd and Melanie Billings
Another Suspect—or a Red Herring?
Further piquing the officers' interest was the fact that Tice had admitted that a $20,000 loan he had taken had come from a man connected to the Mexican organized crime. Tice had been told that his family would be killed if the money wasn't paid back. It was believed that he still owed the Mexican Mafia money. Tice, it turned out, had also introduced Gonzalez to Billings; in a sense, he was a missing link.
The Daily Beast reported that Tice owed $150,000 to Billings, and that Tice had been arrested for writing $17,000 of bad checks to Byrd Billings' business, Worldco Financial Services.
The murder now didn't seem to be such a tightly organized robbery-gone-bad; might it have been a contract killing dressed up as a botched robbery?
Further complicating matters, one of Byrd Billings' sons told police that he was present during a heated argument between Billings and Tice, in which Tice accused Billings of "double-crossing" him. Tice vehemently and publicly denied any untoward involvement in the Billings case, saying that while there were business people who had been upset with Billings, and that he openly "hated" Bud Billings, "nobody I know would want to see Bud Billings killed." Tice has not been charged with any crime related to the murder.