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Ex-Judge, Wife Charged with Murder in Texas DA Killings

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Kaufman County
    Kim Williams (left) told investigators her husband Eric Williams (right) killed Kaufman County Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse and District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia.

    Former Kaufman, Texas, Justice of the Peace Eric Williams and his wife, Kim, have been charged with capital murder in the deaths of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, and Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse.

    McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, were found shot to death in their home on March 30. Hasse was gunned down outside the county courthouse on Jan. 31.

    Kim Williams Says Eric Williams Shot ADA, DA and Wife

    [DFW] Kim Williams Says Eric Williams Shot ADA, DA and Wife
    The wife of a former North Texas justice of the peace implicated her husband in the shooting deaths of a local district attorney, his wife and an assistant prosecutor, according to court records filed Wednesday. An arrest affidavit revealed Kim Lene Williams told investigators Tuesday that her husband, Eric Lyle Williams, was the triggerman in the slayings of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, and assistant prosecutor Mark Hasse. McLelland and Hasse prosecuted Eric Williams last year for theft of three computer monitors. (Published Wednesday, Apr 17, 2013)

    The Kaufman County Sheriff and other law enforcement officials announced the charges during a press conference on Thursday afternoon. During the press conference, authorities confirmed that both Williams were being charged with the murders.

    Williams was arrested on April 13 and charged with making a terroristic threat. He remains in jail on multiple charges, including capital murder, under a $23 million bond.

    Timeline: Kaufman County Murders

    [DFW] Timeline: Kaufman County Murders
    A timeline of the events leading to the arrest of Kim Williams for the murder of Kaufman County ADA Mark Hasse and DA Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia. According to authorities she told investigators her husband killed all three. (Published Wednesday, Apr 17, 2013)

    On Wednesday, his wife, Kim Lene Williams told investigators her husband shot and killed a county prosecutor as well as the district attorney and his wife.

    According to an arrest affidavit, Kim Lene Williams confessed to her involvement in the shootings and provided police with details about the killings that were not released publicly. The affidavit also stated that Kim Williams "intentionally and knowingly cause the death of an individual ... by shooting him with a firearm" — legal language police said outlines her involvement in the killings without going into specifics.

    NBC 5's Encounter With Kim Williams

    [DFW] NBC 5's Encounter With Kim Williams
    NBC 5's Andres Gutierrez spoke with Kim Williams over the weekend and talks about his encounter with the woman who is now charged with capital murder in the deaths of Kaufman County ADA Mark Hasse, DA Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia. (Published Wednesday, Apr 17, 2013)

    Read the arrest warrant affidavit here.

    Lt. Justin Lewis, with the Kaufman County Sheriff's Office, said that Kim Williams told investigators her husband pulled the trigger.

    During the April 17 news conference, Lewis did not describe the evidence against Kim Williams, only saying that she had been charged with capital murder and was being held on a $10 million bond at the Kaufman County Jail.

    Kaufman County Sheriff David Byrnes said despite the charges being filed, the investigation into the murders is still ongoing. Byrnes said investigators will continue to search for all available information in the case.

    Byrnes described the murders as a "collaborative effort" between the couple, with Kim Williams driving during the slaying of Mark Hasse, and as a passenger in the vehicle that carried Eric Williams to the McLellands' home on the night of the killing.

    Investigators believe Eric Williams was the gunman in all murders and was "always on the radar" as a suspect in the killings.

    "The murder of a public official such as a judge, a prosecutor, or a law enforcement officer is an assault against all citizens of the state because it's an attack against the rule of law," Kirby Denby, Chief of Texas Rangers, said during the press conference.

    "Justice has been delivered to the citizens of Kaufman and the families of Mark Hasse and Mike and Cynthia McLelland," FBI special agent Diego Rodriguez of Dallas said.

    Shocking Twist in Investigation

    The arrest of Kim Williams, who has been described as frail from debilitating arthritis that is so severe it is impossible for her to work, was a shocking twist in the investigation into killings of the McLellands and Hasse.

    "I don't think anyone could have written a novel that would play out like this," Kaufman County Judge Bruce Wood said Wednesday after her arrest. He said county employees were relieved the case that had baffled authorities for weeks was moving forward but also were shocked by the developments.

    Wood said he met her only once, briefly at a swearing-in ceremony for public officials. A local attorney, Steve Hulme, said he knew Eric Williams' wife had health issues and called her arrest "just shocking."

    Richard Mohundro, a next-door neighbor, said Kim Williams used to visit him and talk on his front porch.

    "I actually had many more conversations with Kim ... than I ever did with him," Mohundro said. "She is in bad health and hasn't been outside much in the last two years."

    Winnie Murrell sold her home to the Williams family in 2001 but returned to the neighborhood frequently because her sister lived up the street.

    "They were not real friendly people," Murrell said. "In fact I thought she was a recluse. I stayed up at my sister's house a lot and I never saw her outside or anything."

    McLelland and Hasse prosecuted Eric Williams last year for the theft of three computer monitors from a county building. He was convicted, sentenced to probation and lost his law license and his elected position as justice of the peace — a judge who handles mostly administrative duties.

    Kim Williams testified at the sentencing phase of the trial, calling him "a loving man" and contradicting the image presented in trial testimony that indicated he made death threats against a former girlfriend and a local attorney.

    She testified she suffers from several illnesses, including rheumatoid arthritis and chronic fatigue syndrome. She said her husband was her sole caregiver as well as the caregiver for her two ailing parents.

    "He wouldn't do anything to hurt anybody," she testified, according to a story from the Forney Post. "I'm standing by him 100 percent."

    Associated Press reporter Danny Robbins and NBC 5 DFW's Scott Gordon, Randy McIlwain and Ray Villeda contributed to this report.