Published: Oct 28, 2010 4:31 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 28, 2010 1:32 PM EDT

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) - The alleged ringleader in the home-invasion and murders of a Panhandle couple told investigators a group of used car dealers with underworld connections wanted the husband "whacked."

An investigator testified in the double-murder trial of Patrick Gonzalez Jr. on Thursday about his interview with Gonzalez days after the 2009 slayings of Byrd and Melanie Billings.

Prosecutors say Gonzalez and four other masked and armed men, dressed entirely in black, burst into the couple's home in a botched plan to steal a cash-filled safe. Nine of Byrd and Melanie Billings' young children were at home when their parents were killed.

Gonzalez faces the death penalty if convicted.