© 2022 | WUWF Public Media
11000 University Parkway
Pensacola, FL 32514
850 474-2787
NPR for Florida's Great Northwest
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Local News

Santa Rosa Sheriff's Office To Boyette: 'Prison Or The Cemetery'

boyette_update_1.jpg
Escambia Co. Sheriff's Office
/

Billy Boyette and Mary Rice remain at-large. They’re the targets of several local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in connection with three slayings in Florida and Alabama.

Speaking to the media Tuesday morning, Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson minced no words in addressing the suspects.

“I’m speaking directly to Billy Boyette, or anyone who can get him a message,” said Johnson. “Mr. Boyette: there are two places you can end up – prison, or a cemetery. The choice is yours.”

The couple is also suspected in Monday’s home invasion in Beulah, where Kayla Crocker was shot. Crocker is hospitalized, her condition not being released.

Johnson says while they believe the couple is somewhere in west Escambia County, their mobility could bring them back to Santa Rosa. Boyette, says the Sheriff, knows the wooded areas "like the back of his hand.”

“When you have a [sic] armed suspect in a wooded area, and you have to send officers in, you have to remember: we’re looking for him, but he’s looking for us as well,” Johnson said. “He knows where to hide, whereas [for] the cops going in there, it’s a new experience.”

The Santa Rosa Sheriff’s Office has obtained two signed murder warrants naming Boyette in the slayings of Alicia Greer and Jacqueline Moore at a hotel in Milton. The third victim --   Peggy Broz -- was found in her home in Lillian,

In Baldwin County, Alabama, charges against Rice have been upgraded to capital murder. In Santa Rosa County, a warrant charges Rice with accessory after the fact to 1st degree murder. Johnson calls Rice a “willing participant.”

This is not Billy Boyette’s first brush with the law. As first reported by the Pensacola News Journal, his criminal cases go back at least 15 years. State Attorney Bill Eddins says one domestic violence case could have put Boyette in jail.

“Serious injuries to the victim had occurred,” said Eddins. “However, when it came time to go to court, she had her own problems, was on probation and had warrants issued for other charges. She absconded and as a result, we were unable to effectively prosecute [Boyette].”

Everyone on the law enforcement side of the ball in this case is hoping for a peaceful ending. Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson reiterated that Billy Boyette’s best chance of survival is to surrender.

“Just give yourself up; we’ll treat you fairly and you will not be harmed; but other than that, it’s game on,” said Johnson. “Our officers are not going to take a shot from this guy. So he better be prepared.”

A total of $21,000 in reward money is on the table, for information leading to an arrest. Those with information can call 911, or Crimestoppers at 437-STOP.