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Local News

Boyette Update: Companion Now Considered a Suspect

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Escambia Co. Sheriff's Office
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Forty-four-year-old Billy Boyette is suspected of shooting a woman during a home invasion Monday morning in the Beulah community. Twenty-eight-year-old Kayla Crocker is undergoing treatment at a local hospital; her two-year-old son was not hurt.

Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan says Crocker was in critical condition, with no other information to be released.

Morgan says 37-year-old Mary Rice, who is believed to be traveling with Boyette, took Crocker's 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt, but the couple may have changed vehicles again. State Attorney Bill Eddins says Rice is now considered to be a suspect.

“Of accessory after the fact regarding the [home invasion] in Escambia County,” said Eddins. “She’s been upgraded to a suspect regarding the two people that were killed in Santa Rosa County. And we’re beginning to focus on the big picture, as it relates to her interaction with [Boyette].”

Boyette is suspected in the deaths of Alicia Greer and Jacqueline Moore in Milton, and Peggy Broz in Lillian, Alabama. The Pensacola News Journal online reports that Boyette has a long history of violent crimes, going back to 2002 in Santa Rosa County.

Meanwhile, ECSO Chief Deputy Chip Simmons says they’re doubling the manpower in the search and investigation.

“We’re doubling our uniformed presence, to add 25 additional uniformed officers day and night,” said Simmons. “Additionally, we are suspending our minor property investigations so those investigators can concentrate solely on these cases here. So that’s another 25 plainclothes investigators.”

Sheriff David Morgan says one reason Boyette may be staying in the area is because he’s a member of the local drug culture.

“He’s known to be a heavy user of “Spice,” said Morgan. “These people stay awake for four, five, six days at a time. Being a drug user who also deals, he may be collecting; we’re not sure.”

Morgan is also asking the public to practice what he calls “situational awareness” until the pair is in custody.

“When you go to work, when you come home, make sure a friend of family member knows where you are [and] what your expected time of arrival is,” Morgan said. “These may seem like measures in the extreme, but we’re dealing with an extreme situation here.”

Besides the challenge of finding two suspects on the run, Morgan says much to their chagrin they’re chasing shadows – much of them coming from disinformation in social and news media.

“When you get people contacting your Facebook page, that someone was arrested or someone was shot and killed, etc., and you put that out over your media sources, then it lends credence to that very rumor; and then our phones blow up,” said Morgan.

Anyone with what they believe to be solid information on the whereabouts of Billy Boyette and/or Mary Rice is asked to call 911, or Crime Stoppers at 437-STOP. A reward is offered for information leading to their arrests.