Prosecutors: Man accused of Kaufman killings had more targets

Published on Tuesday, 2 September 2014 14:47 - Written by

KAUFMAN (KYTX) — Eric Williams, the disbarred justice of the peace accused in last year's Kaufman County prosecutor slayings, had other targets that he wanted to assassinate, prosecutors revealed for the first time Tuesday.

Among those targets were the current Kaufman County district attorney and his one-time boss.

Documents filed Tuesday morning don't reveal why Williams would have wanted to kill District Attorney Erleigh Norville Wiley, who served as a county court at law judge prior to being sworn in after District Attorney Mike McLelland's death.

It also doesn't explain why he would have wanted to kill former District Judge Glen Ashworth, who Williams had worked with as a court coordinator prior to getting his law degree. The records indicate he planned to kill Ashworth as far back as 2005.

Eric and Kim Williams have been accused in the slaying of Hasse on Jan. 31, 2013. At age 57, Hasse was gunned down by a masked man as he walked to the downtown Kaufman courthouse.

Mike McLelland, 63, and his wife Cynthia, 65, were slain in their Forney home over the Easter weekend. McLelland and Hasse had prosecuted Williams in a burglary and theft case the year before.

Special prosecutors, Bill Wirskye and Toby Shook, are seeking the death penalty for Mr. Williams.

The documents confirm what has long been suspected, which is that Mrs. Williams will testify for the prosecution when her estranged husband goes on trial Dec. 1. She's listed on the prosecution's witness list.

The paperwork, filed by Wirskye, contain other startling revelations:

That Mr. Williams called in a false Crime Stoppers tip nearly a month after the Hasse murder in an apparent effort to put investigators on the wrong track.That Mr. Williams impersonated a police officer during the McLelland slayings. That Mr. Williams threw a phone, a mask and two revolvers into Lake Tawakoni on the day of the McLelland murders. Forensic testing confirmed one of the revolvers was used to kill Hasse. The mask was worn by Mr. Williams during the Hasse murder. That Mr. Williams sent a message to Crime Stoppers on the day of the McLelland murders. The message claimed "credit for both murders" and "contained facts about the Hasse murder only the true murderer would know," according to the court records.

Investigators had previously revealed that threats of future attacks had been made in that message. The writer of that message had threatened future violence if the writer's demands weren't met. Authorities haven't detailed those demands.

In the court filings, Wirskye laid out the case for why prosecutors believe the murders of Hasse and McLelland are inextricably linked.

There was only one common "denominator" between Hasse and McLelland – and that was Mr. Williams, he wrote.

"Mark Hasse and Mike McLelland only tried one case together – the hotly contested Eric Williams burglary case which was tried approximately nine months before the Hasse murder," Wirskye wrote.

Wirskye listed other connections, including:

That Mr. Williams rented a storage unit about a month before the Hasse murder, "which the evidence shows served as a base of operations for both murders." Access logs show the storage unit was accessed shortly before and shortly after both Hasse and McLelland murders. That Mr. Williams bought a "getaway car" shortly before each murder. Officials have since recovered both vehicles.That Mr. Williams used a Lexis-Nexis account, an information database, to search for information on McLelland and Hasse prior to the Hasse slaying.

The document reveals that testing shows that a set of "shooters earplugs" found in the Hasse getaway vehicle had Mr. Williams' DNA on them.

A gunshot residue test taken on the day of the McLelland murders found "results consistent with handling firearms," the records state.

The investigation hasn't found any reason why Mrs. McLelland was killed other than she was Mr. McLelland's wife, according to the filings.

Authorities contend the couple began plotting the murders after McLelland and Hasse successfully prosecuted Williams, which resulted in his removal as a justice of the peace in 2012. Williams also was stripped of his law license. A judge sentenced him to probation in that case.

With the help of Mrs. Williams, state police divers recovered the mask, revolvers and cellphone from Lake Tawakoni on March 5. The lake is located about 40 miles northeast of Kaufman.

Last year, during a search of a Seagoville storage unit, authorities found dozen of weapons, homemade napalm, a makeshift incendiary device, ammunition and a Crown Victoria sedan believed to have been used in the McLelland slayings. Police found a title to the Crown Victoria during a search last year of Williams' home, according to previously filed court documents.

Inside the storage unit, authorities found a live .223 round that matched spent shell cases found at the McLelland crime scene. Investigators haven't yet recovered the weapon use to kill the McLellands.

Citing the massive amount of evidence collected in the case, attorneys for Williams have sought to delay court proceedings in the case. The case has been moved to Rockwall County.

Dallas County District Judge Mike Snipes is presiding over the case after a Kaufman County judge recused himself.

Jury selection begins later this month.

Mr. Williams is currently being held in the Rockwall County Jail.