CALLAHAN, Fla. – Disclaimer: This story contains details that some will find graphic. Discretion is advised.
A 57-year-old Nassau County man accused of fatally shooting his wife and his adult son and daughter in their Callahan home will remain behind bars and is on suicide watch.
William Conway Broyles appeared via video conference from the jail before a judge Thursday morning on charges of second-degree murder. He was barefoot in a long, padded green smock typically used on inmates who require more personalized attention or who are high-risk.
The Nassau County Sheriff’s Office later confirmed Broyles is on suicide watch in the jail.
Broyles showed no emotion and his tone was matter-of-fact as he responded to the judge’s questions. He was ordered to be held without bond and was appointed a public defender.
The public defender representing Broyles during the first appearance warned him before he left the room not to speak about the case on the phone or with any cellmates because both calls and his cellmates are being recorded.
“The phones are recorded, your cellmates are recording you. You’re not to be discussing the facts of this case. This is to protect your rights. Do you understand?” the public defender asked.
Broyles responded: “Yes, sir.”
Jail phone calls are recorded, but inmates are only recorded if the court grants an order for a wire at the request of investigators.
Broyles’ next court date was set for Dec. 21.
WATCH: Broyles’ first appearance
Sheriff: ‘It’s crazy. It just doesn’t make sense’
Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper said Wednesday that Broyles called 911 to report shooting his family and deputies found him lying in the driveway of the home unarmed when they arrived.
“This case is just tragic. It just, it’s crazy. It just doesn’t make sense,” Leeper said.
Leeper said authorities were called to the Spring Lake Estates neighborhood in Callahan at about 7:15 a.m. and found Broyles’ 57-year-old wife shot in the living room area, and his 27-year-old daughter and 28-year-old son shot in their bedrooms.
“Later on he told us that he shot each victim multiple times, just to make sure they didn’t suffer,” Leeper said. “When he was asked why he didn’t just shoot himself, he said he was too scared to do that.”
The Broyles’ have another adult son who does not live at the home and was not there at the time.
A day later, News4JAX returned to the neighborhood, where crime scene vans were still staked outside the home.
A neighbor, who asked to remain anonymous, said they saw Broyles the evening before police arrived.
“Out in the yard. It looked like he was putting stuff on his Christmas wreaths but I’m not for certain what he was doing,” the neighbor recalled.
The neighbor added, “It’s just an eerie feeling driving in there and knowing what took place right there close to your home.”
William Broyles was booked into the Nassau County Jail on three counts of second-degree murder. Leeper noted there was no history of domestic issues at the address.
Deputies have not said what may have led to the killings. There are no apparent red flags in Broyles’ background to immediately suggest trouble.
As revealed on the staff page of Hodges Boulevard Presbyterian Church, on Wednesday evening, Broyles was listed as the church’s director of music ministries. The church writes that Broyles, who apparently goes by Bill, has been its church musician for 23 years, holds a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering and has worked in the aerospace and medical device industries.