Byrd (Bud) Billings Bio
Byrd Starling Billings was born on September 23, 1942 in Mississippi. He was a lifelong car dealer and according to his FBI file, he had dealerships in Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas at various times. For reasons unknown, the FBI followed Billings career through many endeavors and states.
Prior to marrying Melanie Brock in 1993, Billings was married to Cindy Reeve and had 2 children, Melissa & Michael. During the first marriage, they adopted John, who killed himself in 1995 and Justin, who was the child involved in adoption fraud. Byrd and Cindy pled no contest along with Justin’s birth mother, Vicky Lynn Taylor to adoption fraud in 1989. Byrd’s attorney was Bill Richbourg.
After that, Cindy & Byrd were allowed to keep Justin which is unprecedented to say the least. When Melanie married Byrd, she was a young mother of two little girls, Ashley & Nicole (Nikki). Nikki had cerebral palsy which required constant care. Byrd’s financial stability facilitated care Nikki needed and in addition to the adoption of Justin, the couple took on more and more foster kids. After having the capability to handle one special needs child and staff to help with such care, adding more children became easier to do. They took in developmentally challenged kids as well as children who had been abused.
Professionally, Byrd moved away from the strip club business and moved all his focus to buy here pay here car lot Markham Motors which was named for his step son in law, James (Blue) Markham. Just prior to the murders in 2009, according to person close to the family claims the plan was that Byrd was going to be withdrawing completely from the business and turning it over to Ashley & Blue; however, the family friend says that Byrd had become aware that the couple was mismanaging the business and had decided to take it back completely from them. In doing so, Byrd & Melanie were convinced the mismanaging was primarily due to Blue’s actions rather than Ashley. Melanie said to the family friend something to the effect of that marriage was over and Blue was going to be out on his ass.
Justin was also relegated to the perimeter of the property, not allowed in the home because while he was attending military school out of state, he was home for a short time and according to the family friend, Melanie had caught Justin inappropriately touching one of the disabled girls. This was not the first time, Justin had been known to have done the same with Nikki, Melanie’s disabled daughter who passed away in 2008. With a history of such behavior Melanie was sure this would be an ongoing problem and she would not allow him in her home.
Also, when Ashley arrived at the home after being made aware of the murders, she shouted at Justin, “You did this. You are responsible for this.” Many witnesses noted this exchange.