In-depth coverage of the shootings in Kaufman County

Search Warrant Sheds Light on McLelland Investigation

Investigators downplay any possible connection to white supremacist prison gang

By Frank Heinz
|  Tuesday, Apr 2, 2013  |  Updated 4:27 PM CDT
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
Heavy security continues around the Kaufman County Courthouse after the murders of Mike and Cynthia McLelland.

Jeff Smith, NBC 5

Heavy security continues around the Kaufman County Courthouse after the murders of Mike and Cynthia McLelland.

Photos and Videos

Investigators: Nothing to Indicate Gang Tied to Kaufman Shootings

Authorities continue to investigate the shooting deaths of Kaufman County's district attorney and his wife. People familiar with the case tell NBC 5 that investigators have found nothing to indicate that the white supremacist prison gang the Aryan Brotherhood was involved.

Search for Answers in McLelland Slayings

Search warrant information shows what investigators are focusing on as they investigate the shooting deaths of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike and his wife Cynthia.
More Photos and Videos
Related Stories

Information revealed in a search warrant released Monday sheds light on the investigation into the murders of the Kaufman County district attorney and his wife.

In the document, officials said a family friend initially found the bodies of Mike and Cynthia McLelland at about 6:45 p.m. Saturday. The family friend went to the residence after trying to contact the couple several times without success.

The responding Kaufman County sheriff's deputies found cartridge casings inside the house near both victims. Deputies also reported seeing multiple gunshot wounds to both the district attorney and his wife.

According to the search warrant, the last time anyone spoke to either Mike or Cynthia McLelland was Friday evening, when family members talked to the district attorney by telephone.

The documents also reveal that investigators are looking at phone records for two mobile numbers between Jan. 1 and Sunday.

Authorities have revealed no further information with regard to the investigation.

Investigators also have not said if they have found any connection to the January slaying of Kaufman County Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse -- though County Judge Bruce Wood said Monday morning that "there has to be some connection."

Authorities questioned on Monday questioned a man who was convicted of theft and could have been upset about this case but he was released. Investigators did not call him a suspect or even a person of interest in the case.

Investigators: No indication Aryan Brotherhood involved

Several people who are familiar with the case downplayed any possible connection to white supremacist prison gang the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas.

Investigators say they have found nothing to indicate the Aryan Brotherhood was involved.

The Aryan Brotherhood has been in the state's prison system since the 1980s, when it began as a white supremacist gang that protected its members and ran illegal activities, including drug distribution, according to Terry Pelz, a former Texas prison warden and expert on the gang.

The group, which has a long history of violence and retribution, is now believed to have more than 4,000 members in and out of prison who deal in a variety of criminal enterprises, including prostitution, robbery and murder.

It has a paramilitary structure with five factions around the state, Pelz said. Each faction has a general, who is part of a steering committee known as the "Wheel," which controls all criminal aspects of the gang, according to court papers.

Four top leaders of the group were indicted in October for crimes ranging from murder to drug trafficking. Two months later, authorities issued the bulletin warning that the gang might try to retaliate against law enforcement for the investigation that also led to the arrest of 30 other members.

At the time, prosecutors called the indictments "a devastating blow to the leadership" of the gang. Pelz said the indictments might have fragmented the gang's leadership.

Hasse's death on Jan. 31 came the same day as the first guilty pleas were entered in the indictment. No arrests have been made in his killing.

McLelland was part of a multi-agency task force that investigated the Aryan Brotherhood with help from the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and police in Houston and Fort Worth.

Killing law enforcement representatives would be uncharacteristic of the group, Pelz said.

"They don't go around killing officials," he said. "They don't draw heat upon themselves."

But Pelz, who worked in the Texas prison system for 21 years, said the gang has a history of threatening officials and of killing its own members or rivals.

Former colleagues remember district attorney

Prior to running for district attorney in Kaufman County, Mike McLelland served as a public defender in Dallas County, working in the mental health division.

"[He] made you enjoy being around him," said Lynn Richardson, chief public defender. "[He was] very passionate about the things he did and also his family."

"He was a straight shooter, always told you what he thought," said Brad Lallor, assistant public defender.

Richardson said she remembers when McLelland told her about wanting to run for DA.

"He was passionate about wanting to do this," she said. "He thought he had a good chance. He liked the people in that area, knew them really well."

Both Richardson and Lallor said they are shaken by the death of McLelland and his wife, saying it is a wake-up call that it could happen to any of them.

Honor Flag to flown at memorial

The U.S. Honor Flag, a flag that flew over the Texas Capitol on Sept. 11, 2001, and has since been present at more than 1,000 funerals, will be flown at a memorial service for the district attorney.

McLelland has the unfortunate honor of being the first man to have touched the flag and have it flown at his memorial. McLelland handled the flag earlier this year when it was flown during a service for his friend and co-worker, Hasse.

A public memorial service for the McLellands will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday at First Baptist Church of Sunnyvale in Sunnyvale.

The couple will be buried in Mike McLelland's hometown of Wortham. Visitation will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at First Baptist Church in Wortham.

NBC 5's Ben Russell, Scott Gordon and Ray Villeda and The Associated Press' Nomaan Merchant and Juan A. Lozano contributed to this report.

Get the latest headlines sent to your inbox!
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
Leave Comments
Follow Us
Sign up to receive news and updates that matter to you.
Send Us Your Story Tips
Check Out