Terrell man arrested for making terroristic threat on Kaufman tip line

Posted Wednesday, Apr. 03, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Memorial service: 1 p.m. Thursday at the Sunnyvale First Baptist Church, 3018 N. Beltline Road, Sunnyvale.

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Kaufman County authorities have arrested a 56-year-old Terrell man for making a terroristic threat on the Kaufman County Sheriff's tip line but officials said there is currently no connection to the deaths of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland, his wife, Cynthia, or the Jan. 31 shooting death of Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse.

Nick Morale is being held on $1 million bail but Lt. Justin Lewis, a Kaufman County Sheriff's Department spokesman, said at a Wednesday afternoon news conference that there was no evidence linking Morale to the killings of the two prosecutors.

Authorities have said Morale left several threatening messages on a tip line established after the McLellands' killings.

An arrest warrant affidavit from Texas Department of Public Safety investigator Eric Wilson said a call from Morale's home warned that another official "would be the next victim." The official's name was redacted from the affidavit.

In a news release, Lewis said officials are continuing to investigate numerous leads in the deaths of the McLellands.

"The investigation into the murders of Mike and Cynthia McLelland is ongoing," Lewis said. "Investigators from many law enforcement agencies are working on leads that have been received on the tip line and through other channels. Those tips are all being investigated and vetted, thoroughly."

Lewis says Morale used the tip line to threaten a specific county official. Authorities aren't identifying the official.

An FBI official said there is zero tolerance for these types of threats.

Morale was arrested by Texas Rangers in Kaufman County on Tuesday and arraigned Wednesday morning.

McLelland, 63, and his wife, Cynthia, 65, were found dead at their home near Forney Saturday night and had been shot multiple times, according to a search warrant affidavit.

Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse, 57, was shot while walking to work on Jan. 31. There has been speculation that groups like the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas might be involved or that someone locally who was upset with prosecutors might have been responsible for the killings, but Lewis said no arrests have been made.

There were also reports that law enforcement agents were seen removing boxes from Morale's home.

Bill Hanna, (817) 390-7698

Twitter: @fwhanna

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