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Officials narrow focus in DA death

Arrestee is former justice of the peace

KAUFMAN, Texas – Authorities investigating the deaths of a North Texas district attorney and his wife appear to have narrowed their focus on a former justice of the peace prosecuted last year by the official for theft.

Eric Lyle Williams, 46, was arrested Saturday on a charge of making a terroristic threat and is being held in the Kaufman County Jail on $3 million bond. His arrest came after federal and local agents investigating the March 28 deaths of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, searched Williams’ home Friday.

Authorities have said little about their investigation into the McClellands’ deaths and have not named any suspects. Previous possible culprits mentioned included a white supremacist prison gang known as the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, which had been targeted by a task force that included McLelland’s office.

Two others have been arrested for making terroristic threats during the investigation into the slayings, but authorities said they had no connection to the deaths.

Kaufman County sheriff’s spokesman Justin Lewis declined to discuss the weekend developments. “Mr. Williams has not been charged with murder,” Lewis said Sunday in an email.

A spokeswoman for the FBI would not comment Sunday on the ongoing investigation, and Williams’ attorney did not return a phone message.

The McClellands were killed about two months after one of McLelland’s prosecutors, Mark Hasse, was slain outside the local courthouse. McLelland and Hasse both participated in last year’s prosecution of Williams on charges that he stole three computer monitors from an office building.

Williams has said he submitted to gunshot residue tests and turned over his cellphone after both McLelland and Hasse were found dead. Williams’ attorney, David Sergi, said in a statement Friday that Williams “has cooperated with law enforcement and vigorously denies any and all allegations.”


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