Updated: Officials: Ex-judge’s wife confessed in DA deaths
KAUFMAN, Texas (AP) — The wife of a former North Texas judge was charged with capital murder after confessing to her involvement in the three shooting deaths of the local district attorney, his wife and an assistant prosecutor, authorities said Wednesday.
Kim Williams was arrested early Wednesday, a day after she told investigators that she and her husband, Eric Williams, were involved in the shootings of the Kaufman County district attorney, his wife and one of his prosecutors, according to documents in the case.
The affidavit says Kim Lene Williams “described in detail her role along with that of her husband” but was unclear on who she said committed the shooting.
Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and assistant prosecutor Mark Hasse prosecuted Eric Williams last year for theft of three computer monitors. Wiliams was convicted and sentenced to probation. He also lost his elected position as justice of the peace — a judge who handles mostly administrative duties — and his law license.
McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, were found dead March 30, two months after Hasse was slain.
The officer who signed the affidavit, Kaufman County Sheriff’s Sgt. Matt Woodall, said he had learned from other officers and county employees that Hasse and Mike McLelland both believed Williams blamed them for the loss of his job and carried handguns after the trial because they thought he was “a threat to their personal safety.”
Kim Williams was being held on $10 million bond at the Kaufman County Jail, sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Justin Lewis said. He declined to answer questions about the investigation but said families of the victims would be briefed on the case.
Eric Williams was arrested Saturday and charged with making terroristic threats. A probable cause affidavit says the ex-judge sent an email one day after the McLellands’ bodies were discovered implying there would be another attack if authorities didn’t respond to various demands.
A law enforcement official previously said authorities were trying to build a case against him in the prosecutors’ slayings while he remains jailed on a $3 million bond. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the ongoing investigation.
The official said ballistics experts were testing at least 20 weapons found in a storage locker under Eric Williams’ name at a facility near Dallas. A Ford Crown Victoria similar to one recorded in the McLellands’ neighborhood around the time the couple was killed was parked at the storage facility, the official said.
Jail records did not list an attorney for Kim Williams. A message left with her husband’s attorney was not immediately returned Wednesday.
Williams has said that after the McLellands’ deaths and after Hasse was gunned down Jan. 31 near the county courthouse, he submitted to gunshot residue tests and turned over his cellphone.
Two other people have been arrested for making terroristic threats during the investigation into the slayings, but authorities said they had no connection to the deaths.
Williams has appealed his theft conviction, and a day before the McLellands’ bodies were found, a state appeals court in Dallas agreed to hear oral arguments in the case.
During closing arguments at Williams’ trial, the prosecutors presented testimony indicating he had made death threats against a former girlfriend and a local attorney.
“The good old boy network is gone,” McLelland said at the time.
In the sentencing phase, Kim Williams testified in her husband’s defense. She said she suffers from several illnesses, including rheumatoid arthritis and chronic fatigue syndrome. She said her husband was her sole caregiver as well as the caregiver for her two ailing parents.
“Eric is a loving man,” she testified. “He wouldn’t do anything to hurt anybody. I’m standing by him 100 percent.”