In-depth coverage of the shootings in Kaufman County

AP Source: Case Building Around Former Justice of the Peace Williams for McLelland Killings

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Former Kaufman County Justice of the Peace Eric Williams is jailed on a charge of making a terroristic threat, and as of Tuesday his name is still the only one to come up publicly in search warrants and affidavits related to the murders of DA Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia and DA Mark Hasse. (Published Tuesday, Apr 16, 2013)

    Texas authorities investigating the killing of a district attorney and his wife are working to build a case against a former justice of the peace prosecuted last year by the slain official's office, a law enforcement official said Monday.

    Eric Lyle Williams, 46, was arrested over the weekend and remains jailed on a charge of making a terroristic threat. He is being held on $3 million bond.

    Authorities allege he emailed an anonymous threat to law officers from his personal computer one day after Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, were found dead in their home on March 30. The email implied that if authorities didn't respond to various demands, there'd be another attack, according to a probable cause affidavit released by the sheriff's office.

    Williams' arrest came after federal and local agents investigating the couple's deaths searched Williams' home and a storage facility, and investigators are now focused on trying to build a case against him, according to the law enforcement official, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the ongoing investigation.

    Police Outline Williams' Terroristic Threat Charges

    [DFW] Police Outline Williams' Terroristic Threat Charges
    On Monday afternoon, the Kaufman County Sheriff's Department released the probable cause affidavit outlining the terroristic threat charges against Eric Williams. (Published Monday, Apr 15, 2013)

    NBC 5 also spoke to a relative of Williams who said the former JP is the prime suspect in the murders. Investigators would not confirm that information.

    The official said at least 20 weapons found in Williams' storage locker are being tested by ballistics experts. A Ford Crown Victoria similar to one seen and video recorded in the McLellands' neighborhood on the day they died also was found at the locker, the official said.

    A state law enforcement official spent two-and-half hours visiting with the storage facility's manager Monday. The official went into the manager's office with a small black duffel bag and left with the bag as well as what appeared to be several documents. The manager, Larry Mathis, declined to comment after the meeting.

    The storage locker is located in Seagoville, about 15 miles west of Williams' home, where two signs on the front doors Monday instructed media seeking comment to contact David Sergi, Williams' attorney in the theft case. However, a woman who answered the phone at Sergi's office said he would not have any comment on the case Monday.

    Williams Warrant Details Threat

    [DFW] Williams Warrant Details Threat
    Authorities believe a former county official sent a threatening email to law officers a day after the Kaufman County prosecutor and his wife were killed at their home. (Published Monday, Apr 15, 2013)

    Authorities have said little about their investigation into the McLellands' deaths and have not named any suspects. Previous possible culprits mentioned included a white supremacist prison gang known as the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, which had been targeted by a task force that included McLelland's office.

    Two others have been arrested for making terroristic threats during the investigation into the slayings, but authorities said they had no connection to the deaths.

    The McLellands were killed about two months after one of McLelland's prosecutors, Mark Hasse, was slain outside the local courthouse. McLelland and Hasse both participated in last year's prosecution of Williams on charges he stole three computer monitors from an office building.

    Williams has said he submitted to gunshot residue tests and turned over his cellphone after both McLelland and Hasse were found dead.

    Eric Williams' History in Kaufman

    [DFW] Eric Williams' History in Kaufman
    Texas authorities are working to build a case against a former justice of the peace prosecuted last year by the Kaufman County district attorney's office. DA Mike McLelland and ADA Mark Hasse handled a theft case against Eric Williams that resulted in him losing his job. (Published Monday, Apr 15, 2013)

    Both prosecutors gave closing arguments before a jury convicted Williams last March. They questioned his character and suggested he was prone to threatening others. Williams received two years' probation, but lost his position as justice of the peace -- an elected judicial officer who typically handles smaller civil and administrative matters -- as well as his law license.

    Williams has appealed the verdict, and on March 29 -- one day before the McLellands were found dead -- a state appeals court in Dallas agreed to hear oral arguments in the case.