Ex-justice of the peace accused of 'terroristic threat' in Kaufman County case

Posted Sunday, Apr. 14, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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KAUFMAN -- Authorities investigating the death of the Kaufman County district attorney have arrested a former justice of the peace after searching his home and have accused him of making a "terroristic threat."

Eric Williams, 46, was booked into the Kaufman County Jail early Saturday, jail records show.

Bail was set at $1 million on the terroristic-threat count. A sheriff's spokesman did not return calls seeking more information.

Officials have not named Williams a suspect in the March 30 shooting deaths of District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, or in the late January death of Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse, who was fatally shot as he was leaving work in Kaufman, about 65 miles southeast of Fort Worth.

But federal and local authorities searched Williams' home Friday as part of an investigation into the McLellands' deaths.

Two local TV stations also reported that FBI agents raided a storage unit in Seagoville, pulling a four-door vehicle from a shed.

An FBI representative would not confirm the owner of the unit at Gibson Self Storage but said investigators were "following up on leads" related to the Kaufman County case, WFAA/Channel 8 reported. KDFW/Channel 4 said the storage rental is along U.S. 175, halfway between Dallas and Kaufman.

The district attorney's office prosecuted Williams, convicting him in March 2012 of burglary of a building and theft by a public servant. Williams, who was sentenced to two months' probation, lost his justice of the peace position as a result.

Spokesmen for the FBI and the Sheriff's Department confirmed Friday that they were executing a search warrant but declined to provide details. The Sheriff's Department said the warrant's underlying affidavit was ordered sealed by a judge.

Williams' attorney, David Sergi, released a statement Friday saying his client "has cooperated with law enforcement and vigorously denies any and all allegations."

"He wishes simply to get on with his life and hopes that the perpetrators are brought to justice," Sergi said. Sergi did not respond to a phone message left by The Associated Press on Saturday.

This month, Williams said he voluntarily submitted to a gun residue test and turned over his cellphone after authorities contacted him while investigating the McLelland deaths. Sergi has said Williams also submitted to a gun residue test and gave his cellphone to authorities when he was questioned after Hasse's death.

Authorities have released little about the case, except to say they continue to follow leads, including possible ties to a white-supremacist gang. One month before Hasse's death, the Texas Department of Public Safety issued a warning that the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas could retaliate for an October indictment that targeted some of its leaders. McLelland's office was involved in that case.

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