Ex-JP, wife suspected in 3 Kaufman County killings

Posted Thursday, Apr. 18, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Not the Aryan Brotherhood. Not a Mexican drug cartel.

After weeks of investigation, suspicion in three high-profile slayings in Kaufman County is now focused on a local middle-aged couple who apparently had a grudge.

Early Wednesday, authorities arrested Kim Lene Williams, the wife of a former Kaufman County justice of the peace, accusing her of capital murder in the slayings of District Attorney Mike McLelland, his wife, Cynthia, and prosecutor Mark Hasse.

Kim Williams, 46, told investigators that her husband, Eric Williams, 46, shot all three.

She "described in detail her role with that of her husband, Eric Williams, whom she reported to have shot to death Mark Hasse on January 31, 2013, and Michael and Cynthia McLelland on March 30, 2013," according to an arrest warrant affidavit signed by Sgt. Matt Woodall of the Kaufman County Sheriff's Department.

Kim Williams "confessed to her involvement to the scheme and course of conduct in the shooting deaths" and "gave details of both offenses which had not been made public," the affidavit said.

Kim Williams was booked into the Kaufman County Jail at 2:58 a.m. Wednesday. Her bail was set at $10 million

Her husband was already in jail, although he has not been officially linked to the killings. Eric Williams was arrested Saturday, accused of sending a threatening email to law officers March 31, the day after the McLellands were killed in their home near Forney.

He remained in jail Wednesday with bail set at $3 million.

County officials declined to provide more information about their case, saying they wanted to talk to the McLelland family first.

A news conference was set for 1:30 p.m. today.

'Eric is a loving man'

Hasse was gunned down Jan. 31 as he walked from his car to his office in the county courthouse.

A witness said the gunman was dressed all in black, wore a hoodie and "looked just like a square block."

The McLellands were found dead on the Saturday before Easter.

The Williamses live about 14 miles away.

Eric Williams, a 1985 graduate of Azle High School, also graduated from TCU and the Texas Wesleyan University Law School.

Elected a justice of the peace in Kaufman County, Eric Williams was convicted last year of stealing three county computer monitors in a case prosecuted by McLelland and Hasse.

As a result, he lost his peace officer's license and his law license was revoked.

He has appealed his theft conviction, and a day before the McLellands' bodies were found, a state appeals court in Dallas agreed to hear arguments in the case.

During the sentencing phase of Eric Williams' trial, Kim Williams testified in her husband's defense.

She said she has several illnesses, including rheumatoid arthritis and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Her husband is her sole caregiver as well as the caregiver for her two ailing parents, she said.

"Eric is a loving man," she testified. "He wouldn't do anything to hurt anybody. I'm standing by him 100 percent."

While Eric Williams is well-known in Kaufman as a family lawyer and later as a justice of the peace, Kim Williams was rarely seen around Kaufman, county officials and neighbors said.

County Judge Bruce Wood said he met her once, briefly, at a swearing-in ceremony for public officials.

Richard Mohundro, a next-door neighbor, said Kim Williams used to visit him and talk on his front porch.

"I actually had many more conversations with Kim ... than I ever did with him," Mohundro told an Associated Press reporter.

"She is in bad health and hasn't been outside much in the last two years."

A dying belief

Wood said Tuesday that Mike McLelland believed that Eric Williams killed Hasse, something McLelland reiterated just days before he was killed.

"He thought that from Day One," Wood said. "He never wavered. He said he knew he did it, but he just couldn't get the evidence to prove he did it."

Both McLelland and Hasse carried handguns regularly after Williams' trial "because they believed Eric Williams to be a threat to their personal safety," according to the arrest affidavit for Kim Williams.

Investigators searched the Williams home Friday and later found at least 20 weapons in a storage locker under Eric Williams' name at a Seagoville facility, according to a law enforcement official who talked to The Associated Press.

A Ford Crown Victoria similar to one seen in the McLellands' neighborhood around the time of the killings was parked at the storage facility, the official said.

Glenda Rand, a Kaufman native and owner of the Daisy's clothing store on the town square, said she has mixed feelings over the recent developments.

"But I don't know how I feel that it might have been one of our own who did this," Rand said. "Could three people all be dead because someone stole a computer?"

This report includes material from The Associated Press.

Bill Hanna, 817-390-7698

Twitter: @fwhanna

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