North Texas

Eric Williams Estranged Wife is Trial Topic

Late Monday afternoon, the defense rested in the sentencing phase of the Eric Williams' trial.

During testimony, Eric Williams’ estranged wife Kim became a major topic in the sentencing phase of  the capital murder trial, even though she did not appear as a witness.

Kim Williams is an indicted accomplice in the 2013 killings of Kaufman District Attorney Mike McLelland, his wife Cynthia and Assistant DA Mark Hasse.

Eric Williams was convicted of capital murder for the death of Cynthia McLelland on Dec. 4, the on the 4th day of the trial.  For six days in court since then the jury has been hearing evidence about whether he deserves the death penalty or life in prison.

Kim is to be tried separately.  Monday, Judge Mike Snipes denied Eric Williams’ lawyers request that she be ordered to testify.  The judge said Kim Williams’ attorney said she would refuse, exercising her 5th Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination.

Kim Williams remained a frequent topic in Monday’s testimony anyway.  Several witnesses spoke about Eric and Kim’s relationship.

Relative Heather Jones, step daughter of Kim Williams’ brother, said she spent time living in the Williams’ Kaufman home in 2003 to 2004 because of trouble at her Colorado home.

“She pretty much wore the pants in the relationship,” Heather Jones said. “She was money hungry.”

Jones said Kim Williams was extremely concerned about her personal appearance. 

“She’d make sure her hair was perfect every single day. She’d make sure her makeup was perfect, and the way she dressed was to the T,” Jones said.

Defense lawyers have attempted to suggest his wife played a larger role in the murders.

Kim Williams’ appearance has changed over the years as the result of illness which often kept Eric Williams at home providing care for her, several witnesses said.

Eric Williams was also convicted of burglary and theft in 2012.  Eric Williams was a Kaufman Justice of the Peace at the time and the prosecution by murder victims McLelland and Hasse resulted in the end of Eric Williams’ career as a lawyer.  Prosecutors have said the murders were  retribution.

Several defense sentencing witnesses Monday spoke about Eric Williams’ character.

Cathy Adams, a Kaufman legal assistant and disbarred attorney said Williams stood by her on numerous occasions.

She broke into tears as she told the jury she believes Williams is still a good person despite his convictions. 

“All of us have a breaking point. You never know what yours is going to be and there’s parts of him that’s worth saving,” Adams said “What happened was horrible, but there’s still a part of him inside that’s good and it’s savable and it’s useful.  And I think that given the opportunity, he would take that. It won’t make up for what happened, but it’s a chance to start to pay back.”

Judge Snipes scheduled prosecution sentencing rebuttal witnesses and closing arguments for Tuesday.  Jury deliberation could begin Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday.

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

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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