|Ex-Judge Accused of Killing 2 Texas DAs|
|By RUSSELL GOLDMAN (@GoldmanRussell)||Apr 18, 2013, 3:43 PM|
A former judge was charged with capital murder today in Kaufman County, Texas, as police accused the man's wife of accompanying him on two hits in which he is accused of killing three people, including two county prosecutors.
Police charged Eric L. Williams with capital murder and accused him of gunning down Kaufmann County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia, as well as assistant D.A. Mark Hasse.
Williams, 46, is being held on $23 million bond. His wife, Kim Williams, 46, on Wednesday was also charged with murder, and is being held on $10 million bond.
All three murders "were done with firearms," said County Sheriff David Byrnes. "It was a collabrative effort between Eric Williams and his wife."
Kim Williams drove her husband to and from the daylight shooting of Mark Hasse in front of the county courthouse on Jan. 31, and accompanied Eric when he killed the McLellands inside their suburban home in March.
The murders rocked this tight-knit community outside Dallas. Investigators poured through hundreds of cases that the men had prosecuted looking for clues, and at one point believed a white supremacist prison gang or Mexican drug cartels may have been involved.
Williams, a lawyer who had served as a sheriff's deputy and justice of the peace in the county, was prosecuted by Hasse and McLelland last year for stealing three computer monitors from a county building. He was stripped of his law license and lost his job as a judge.
"I don't know that I can assess the motive," Byrnes told reporters. "It's mindboggling to me that someone could go out and shoot three innocent people."
Byrnes said the discovery of a storage locker belonging to Williams and filled with weapons was a "watershed" moment in the investigation.
The case came together for police, however, when Kim Williams allegedly confessed to her role in the murders.
"Justice has been delivered to citizens of Kaufman County and the families of Mark Hasse and Mike and Cynthia," said Diego Rodriguez, special agent in charge for the FBI's Dallas office.
If convicted of capital murder, both Eric and Kim Williams are eligible for the death penalty.
It was not clear if either Williams had already obtained a lawyer.