Jury Sentences Eric Williams to Death - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

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Jury Sentences Eric Williams to Death

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    Eric Williams Sentenced to Death

    On Wednesday, a jury sentenced former justice of the peace Eric Williams to death following his conviction for killing a district attorney's wife. (Published Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014)

    A North Texas jury sentenced former justice of the peace and convicted killer Eric Williams to death Wednesday for killing a district attorney's wife in a revenge plot that left three dead.

    Williams was convicted Dec. 4 in the murder of Cynthia McLelland and has also been charged, but has not yet been tried, in the deaths of her husband, DA Mike McLelland, and Assistant DA Mark Hasse.

    While reading the jury's sentence Wednesday, Judge Mike Snipes compared Williams to serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer and convicted murderer Charles Manson.

    Afterward, the McLelland and Hasse families hugged prosecutors in the courtroom. Moments later, the families of the victims read several emotional victim impact statements directly to Williams before he was allowed to leave the courtroom.

    The jury's decision comes a day after Williams' wife delivered shocking and emotional testimony about how he began plotting the McLelland and Hasse murders soon after they convicted him of theft.

    Before the trial began Tuesday, the lawyer for the defendant's estranged wife, Kim Williams, said she wanted to testify. What came next was a string of statements that shed light into the days leading up to the murders of the Hasse and the McLellands and may make it more difficult for the defendants attorneys to keep their client off death row.

    Kim Williams took the stand as a state witness and said her husband shot and killed the McLellands and Hasse and that she was a "willing participant" in his revenge killings. She also testified Tuesday that she was addicted to pain killers and drugged when she drove the getaway car.

    At one point during her testimony, Kim Williams described the day she and her husband left to kill Hasse saying, "It was a cold day, there was excitement in the air" and, though she could not watch Williams kill Hasse, they were both happy afterward.

    "His anger was my anger," Kim Williams said.

    Kim Williams went on to testify that they planned to kill Mike McLelland at his home over a holiday when he wouldn't have protection and said the slaying of Cynthia McLelland was "collateral damage."

    She said her husband told her he had to shoot Cynthia an extra time because she was still moaning.

    After the McLelland slayings, Kim Williams said the couple went and had barbecue before throwing the guns used in the murders in a lake.

    In addition to the details about the Hasse and McLelland murders, Kim Williams detailed how her husband planned to kill Judge Glen Ashworth as well.

    The victims' family members present in court were shocked listening to the coldblooded descriptions of the killings, for which each one Kim Williams claims to have been present.

    Kim Williams said she offered her testimony without a plea deal from prosecutors, though she expects some consideration in her trial. She said she wanted to talk because the families of the victims had suffered a terrible, terrible loss.

    NBC 5's Ken Kalthoff is tweeting live from the hearing. Stay up-to-date by following him on Twitter or reading below.