The Montgomery County police have arrested a man in the death of the former manager of Chevy Chase Village, who was found dead in his Bethesda, Maryland, house last week.
Billy Phillips III, 36, of Rockville, has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Geoffrey Biddle, 66, of Bethesda. Phillips was arrested Tuesday; on Wednesday, he was ordered held until his next court appearance, set for July 30.
Biddle was found dead in his Windsor Lane house on Thursday, June 24. Police went to check on him after they had gotten a call at about 11 a.m. saying Biddle hadn’t shown up for work at Payment Solutions, of Gaithersburg, where he was CEO.
Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said Wednesday that Biddle may have been held hostage for for some time before he was killed.
Phillips is a former Payment Solutions worker who was fired in May or June of last year, the company president told the police. McCarthy said Phillips has been convicted of robbing a bank in Virginia.
Biddle was last seen on June 22, when he had dinner with a Payment Solutions worker, the police said.
In an application for an arrest warrant, the police said some workers at Payment Solutions said they got a suspicious email from Biddle on June 23, saying he had a family emergency and wouldn’t be in that day – a day he wasn’t supposed to be working anyway.
The police say in the affidavit that they think Phillips went into Biddle’s house the morning of June 23 to steal checks, ran into Biddle, and killed him, taking some checks, cash and a bank card. Biddle was found in the basement, dead from multiple gunshot wounds, the police said.
They said Phillips was seen on various surveillance cameras leaving Biddle’s house on the morning of June 23 and depositing checks written to him from Biddle’s account between June 23 and June 25; they believe Phillips forged Biddle’s signature on the checks, which totaled $14,050.
A friend and former business partner of Biddle’s, who went to check Biddle’s house before the police were called, told police he fired Phillips from his own company in April of this year after Phillips had stolen some checks from him.
The friend didn’t find Biddle on the main floor or the second floor; he didn’t check the basement, thinking it was locked, the police said.
Biddle was village manager from 2003 through 2009. He began work at Chevy Chase Village in 1994.
Payment Solutions President David Sacramo on Monday called Biddle “an exceedingly kind and thoughtful person. … Extremely selfless in professional and personal decisions, he truly had other people’s best interests at heart, above his own.”
Troy O’Connor, who works at PSI, said Biddle was “incredibly dedicated to the success of the company and fought as hard for our personal lives as our professional lives.”
“All PSI employees feel Geoff will always be sorely missed and impossible to replace,” the company added.
WTOP’s Rick Massimo and Erron Franklin contributed to this report.