DA Slaying Suspects to be Tried in Kaufman | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

In-depth coverage of the shootings in Kaufman County

DA Slaying Suspects to be Tried in Kaufman



    (Published Friday, July 26, 2013)

    During a preliminary court hearing Friday,  a judge said the trials of former Kaufman County Justice of the Peace Eric Williams and his wife, Kim Williams, would start in Kaufman.

    Eric Williams allegedly shot and killed Kaufman Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse in January and Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, in March after the attorneys prosecuted him in a theft case that ultimately cost him his law license and position as a judge.

    Kaufman County Grand Jury handed down capital murder indictments for Kim and Eric Williams on June 27. In the case of Eric Williams, prosecutors said they will seek the death penalty. Prosecutors said they have not made a decision on seeking the death penalty in Kim Williams' case.

    According to an arrest affidavit, Kim Williams confessed to her involvement in the shootings and named her husband as the shooter while providing police with details about the killings that were not released publicly. (Read the arrest warrant affidavit here.)

    DA Slaying Suspects to be Tried in Kaufman

    [DFW] DA Slaying Suspects to be Tried in Kaufman
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    (Published Friday, July 26, 2013)

    The judge said they would begin jury selection next Spring. The trials for the Williams are expected to begin in October 2014, but could start earlier depending on decisions by the attorneys.

    Judge Mike Snipes said they would select jurors from Kaufman as long as they could find jurors that were fair and impartial. Snipes is a Dallas County judge serving as a special judge in the case.

    Kaufman County district attorneys will not be involved in the prosecution of the case due to previous involvements with all parties. Toby Shook and Bill Wirskye have been named special prosecutors in the case.

    “There is a sense of relief, two people have been arrested and incarcerated,” says Bruce Wood, Kaufman County Judge.

    Wood, along with friends and family of the murder victims, packed the courtroom to see Eric and Kim Williams in person for the first time since their arrests.

    The South Campus Courthouse in Kaufman is one that’s very familiar to Eric Williams.  He’s now facing murder charges in the very building where he used to be a Justice of the Peace.  Instead of sitting on the bench, though, the former JP is in the hot seat as a defendant. He’s being tried separately from his wife, Kim.

    “Our criminal justice system works, even though these individuals tried to destroy it.  It’s up and running,” Wood says.

    “I don’t know if we’ll have final closure ever,” says Wood.

    NBC 5's Kendra Lyn contributed to this report.