KAUFMAN -- Officials investigating the deaths of two prosecutors in this rural area east of Dallas have turned their attention to a former local official who threatened the two victims after losing his job in a corruption probe, according to federal law enforcement officials briefed about the case.The federal officials said the individual who emerged as a person of interest this week was convicted and placed on probation for stealing public property in Kaufman County two years ago.After the individual's arrest, investigators found he had numerous guns, including an assault rifle and survivalist equipment, one of the federal officials said. The federal officials declined to be identified, citing the ongoing investigation.After failing to negotiate a plea, the individual threatened retaliation against the two prosecutors, another federal official said. The individual had also threatened to burn down the home of another local official, the law enforcement source said.The person of interest could not be reached by phone or at home Tuesday.One of the man's lawyers, David K. Sergi, said that his client had submitted to a gun residue test after Hasse's killing and again on Saturday night after the shootings of the McLellands. He said that his client had nothing to do with either shooting, and he asked that the man's name be withheld out of concern for his safety.Authorities are investigating the deaths of District Attorney Mike McLelland, 63, found fatally shot over the weekend with his wife, Cynthia, 65, at their home in Forney and Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse, 57, shot on his way to court Jan. 31.Courthouse staff reported to work Tuesday flanked by sheriff's deputies. A wreath of white roses and other flowers bearing McLelland's name was placed out front."We're doing the best we can," County Judge David Lewis said.Officials were also looking into a Facebook posting from a person who said he was a county resident named Bob Miller, who wrote on Monday that the killings were "acts of revenge against the tyrannical, unjust, Pit Bull style treatment of every poor soul damned to do business in the Kaufman County courthouse." He named another prosecutor in the office, and added that he expected that that person "will soon perish, bringing closure to an era of unacceptable practices and allowing Kaufman County residents to move forward with liberty and justice."Asked about the Facebook posting, a Dallas spokeswoman for the FBI, which is among the numerous local, state and federal agencies investigating the shootings, said she could not comment on specific leads.During a Tuesday briefing outside the courthouse, Kaufman County Judge Bruce Wood said investigators were still searching for suspects in the killings."We're working feverishly. National, state and local offices, they're doing all they can to investigate this crime," Wood said.Brandi Fernandez is now acting district attorney for Kaufman County and Gov. Rick Perry is expected to name a permanent replacement soon.Hasse was shot the same day that federal officials credited him for assisting with the prosecution of members of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, a white supremacist prison gang. Fernandez has also handled an Aryan Brotherhood case, but Wood declined to comment Tuesday about whether that led to fears for her safety.Wood said he had no new details to release about the investigation, as did Kaufman County Sheriff David Byrnes and the FBI.Some of those who knew McLelland, who had been district attorney for three years, came to the courthouse in disbelief Tuesday.Anderson County District Attorney Doug Lowe knew both McLelland and Hasse and traveled about 80 miles from his office in East Texas Tuesday to pay his respects to McLelland."He was just hitting his stride, doing tough cases, and to get snuffed out like that when he was just starting to go ... it's a great loss," Lowe said.Investigators have also been interviewing members of the prison gang known as the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, but officials said that they have found no evidence linking the killings to the gang and that they were viewing its potential involvement as simply one of a number of possibilities.Nonetheless, a federal prosecutor in a major case in Houston against the ABT withdrew from the case over security concerns in the wake of the weekend murders, a source familiar with the case told the Houston Chronicle. Jay Hileman, an assistant U.S. attorney, had been assigned to the case. Houston defense attorney Gus Saper, who represents alleged Aryan gang leader Terry Ross Blake, confirmed that Hileman had notified him he was no longer on the case.This report includes material from the Houston Chronicle and The New York Times.
Services set for D.A., wife
Memorial service: 1 p.m. Thursday at the Sunnyvale First Baptist Church, 3018 N. Beltline Road, Sunnyvale.
Visitation: 6-8 p.m. Thursday at First Baptist Church of Wortham, 300 South Third, Wortham.
Funeral services: 10 a.m. Friday at First Baptist Church of Wortham.