The man accused of killing Kaufman County prosecutor Mark Hasse, District Attorney Mike McClelland, and Cynthia McClelland was lead into a Rockwall County courtroom in handcuffs this morning as attorneys battled over the start of his capital murder trial.
Eric Williams, a former Justice of the Peace for Kaufman County, will be tried in Rockwall for the murders of Hasse and the McClellands following a decision by a Kaufman County judge to attempt to give him a more fair trial.
Attorneys for the defense said the prosecution has been slow to turn over evidence during the discovery phase of the trial. The judge agreed and gave prosecutors 60 days to turn over ballistics and other evidence so the defense could test it.
However, the judge denied motions from the defense to have a neutral lab test DNA evidence collected by the Texas Department of Safety. Prosecutors will use the DPS lab to test that evidence, which the defense feels creates a conflict of interest. Defense attorneys can independently test the DNA evidence when it is turned over.
Defense attorneys argued for a continuance in the trial, saying that a slow discovery process in a case still under investigation makes the schedule trial start date of October 20 too soon to expect them to be ready. The judge disagreed and is planning to hold to a tentative schedule that would have the first evaluation of potential jurors on March 28.