By Tanya Eiserer,
Grand jury takes up capital murder indictments against former JP, wife jailed in revenge killings of Kaufman DA, his wife, deputy assistant
Kaufman, TX — Oh, how low the mighty have fallen. But friends in low places have always known the threat to public safety by the pillars of the community was greater than that from even the usual criminal elements. A case in point: A grand jury in Kaufman County is expected to consider capital murder indictments this morning against former Justice of the Peace Eric Williams and his wife in the revenge killings of the county’s district attorney, his wife and a top assistant.
Previous speculation ran to suspicions directed at drug gangs or the Colorado Prison Superintendent slayings suspect who died in a gun battle with Texas authorities.
Kaufman County officials plan a news conference at noon to discuss the results of those proceedings.
Authorities allege that Williams, 46, gunned down Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse as he walked to the courthouse on Jan. 31, and killed District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, in their home over Easter weekend. They say Kim Williams, 46, was in the getaway vehicle during the killings. [Kim had confessed to being in the vehicle.]
Authorities say investigators matched spent shell casings found at the McLelland crime scene with a live round found at a storage shed where Eric Williams stored large amounts of ammunition of various types and dozens of weapons. Both had been ejected from the same gun.
The two suspects are expected to be tried on a charge of capital murder and, if convicted, could be sentenced to death or to spend the remainder of their lives in prison if convicted. Eric Williams is also charged with making a terrorist threat after authorities say he sent an e-mail promising another attack the day after the McLelland slayings.
Eric Williams is being held in the Kaufman County Jail in lieu of $23 million bail. Kim Williams is being held there in lieu of $10 million bail.
Authorities claim the murder plot was hatched after McLelland and Hasse prosecuted Williams in a theft and burglary case which resulted in his removal as Justice of the Peace and the loss of his law license in 2012. He was sentenced to probation, even though Hasse and McLelland argued that he should receive the maximum two-year prison sentence.
The case left Williams and his wife in dire financial straits and without health insurance, Kim Williams has said prior to her arrest.
Kim Williams told authorities she was the getaway driver in the Hasse case and was in the car at the time of the McLelland slayings. She said her husband shot Mike McLelland, 63, his wife, Cynthia, 65, and Hasse, 57.
Williams said he’s innocent. He told authorities he was at home at the time of the slayings.
Court records indicate Eric Williams began setting the plot in motion in late December when he had a friend rent a Seagoville storage unit on his behalf.
Inside the storage unit, Williams stored large amounts of weapons, authorities say. Shell casings found at the McLelland crime scene matched a live round found at the storage shed, according to investigators.
Police also seized a Crown Victoria thought to have been used in the McLelland slayings from inside a storage unit. A neighbor’s surveillance video had captured a white Crown Victoria entering the McLellands’ neighborhood before the slayings and then leaving afterward.
A silver 2001 Mercury Sable, believed to have been used in the Hasse slaying, was soon found after investigators found evidence that Eric Williams used a Kaufman County Lexis-Nexis account on Jan. 27 to conduct a search of the car’s license plate. The car was traced to a previous owner who had sold it.
Law officers questioned the woman listed in State records as the car’s owner. She told authorities she sold it on Craigslist, but a towing company had contacted her to tell her the vehicle had been towed from the Seagoville storage facility.
Storage unit employees spotted the Sable parked on the property on Feb. 25, indicating what authorities believe: It must have been parked inside the storage unit used by Williams before that time. The storage unit had room for one car. Authorities say Williams purchased the Crown Victoria under a fake name on Feb. 23.
The storage facility notified the towing company on March 7 the Sable had been left abandoned on the property. It was towed.