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Man serving life sentence for murder of 6 people given death penalty for killing 7th

45-year-old once known as the Monster of Mayport

Billy Wells sentenced to death Tuesday after his seventh murder conviction.
Billy Wells sentenced to death Tuesday after his seventh murder conviction. (Florida Department of Corrections)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Billy Wells, who earned the nickname “Monster of Mayport” after five bodies in varying states of decomposition were found in his Mayport mobile home in May 2003, was serving a life sentence at Florida State Prison when he killed again.

Wells killed his wife and four other family members in a Mayport doublewide and lived there for another week with his 4-year-old son before he was arrested.

Wells pleaded guilty to the five murders in 2003 in exchange for the state waiving the death penalty. Melissa Nelson, who was an assistant state attorney at the time and assigned to prosecute the case, said at the time that the victims’ family had asked for a life sentence instead of death.

Before that plea deal, prosecutors expressed concern about his mental health and ability to understand the criminality of those killings.

Wells was given another life sentence for killing an inmate in 2011. But after his conviction on a seventh murder -- killing fellow Florida State Prison inmate William Chapman in 2019 -- a judge on Tuesday has sentenced Wells to death.

In sentencing Wells in Bradford County, Circuit Judge Mark Moseley wrote: “The aggravating circumstances far outweigh the mitigating circumstances which the court has heard and considered.”

All death penalty sentences are automatically appealed to the Florida Supreme Court.

Wells, now 45 years old, has repeatedly told prosecutors he wants to be executed.


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