No death penalty for Stallworth

Published 10:39 pm Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Brewton native Donnie Stallworth will not face the death penalty if convicted in the murders of a Pensacola area couple.

Stallworth is one of seven people charged in the July 2009 shooting deaths of Melanie and Byrd Billings, a Beulah, Fla., couple known for adopting several special needs children. They were killed in their home during a robbery.

The so-called mastermind in the case, Leonard Patrick Gonzales Jr., was convicted last month of the murders. He faces the death penalty.

State attorney Bill Eddins said in a press release that although Stallworth and another defendant, Wayne Coldiron, participated in the crime, they never fired their guns.

“The State must show that the imposition of the death penalty is proportional when compared to other individuals charged in the same criminal case where the death penalty was imposed,” according to a statement from Eddins’ office.

Stallworth, 29, is scheduled to go to trial in February.

He would face a mandatory life sentence if convicted.