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Judge Tapped to Succeed Slain Kaufman County DA

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Gov. Rick Perry has appointed Erleigh Norville Wiley of Forney as Kaufman County district attorney for a term to expire at the next general election

    A former prosecutor who has been serving as an East Texas county judge has been chosen to succeed Kaufman County's slain district attorney.

    Gov. Rick Perry appointed Kaufman County Court-at-Law Judge Erleigh Norville Wiley to complete the term of District Attorney Mike McLelland.

    Wiley said she is honored by the appointment.

    "I'm confident I can do a good job, and so those are my feelings," she said. "I'm a little surprised. I didn't know it would move quite this fast."

    Wiley said she knows it's a chaotic time to be appointed to the district attorney's seat.

    "Sure, I'm worried, but we've got good people that are watching us," she said.

    Wiley said she would seek to unify the district attorney's office in a time in which many people are scared.

    "You can't be fearful," she said. "You just have to be prayerful and you have to know that we've got good people that are going to protect us until justice is done."

    Wiley has been court-at-law judge since 2003 and is in her third term.

    She, like McLelland, is a Forney resident, and is a past supervising attorney in the Dallas County District Attorney's Office and teaches at the University of North Texas.

    In 2008, she donated a kidney to her husband, an assistant U.S. attorney, and was part of a Baylor transplant campaign.

    Wiley, a Republican, is the first black woman to be elected as a judge in Kaufman County history. She will be the first woman to hold the position of district attorney in the county.

    She is a native of Kaufman who graduated from Kaufman High School.

    Wiley takes over from Assistant District Attorney Brandi Fernandez, who has been filling in since McLelland's death. Her appointment is pending Senate confirmation, which should happen next week.

    McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, were found shot to death in their home March 30. Two months before, Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse was gunned down outside the Kaufman County Courthouse.

    No arrests have been made in either case.

    NBC 5's Ray Villeda and Randy McIlwain contributed to this report.