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Government After home searched, Texas man charged with threat

After home searched, Texas man charged with threat

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Robert Francis
Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

KAUFMAN, Texas (AP) — Authorities investigating the death of a Texas district attorney arrested a former justice of the peace and charged him Saturday with making a “terroristic threat” after searching his home.

Eric Williams, 46, was admitted to the Kaufman County Jail early Saturday morning, jail records show. Bond was set at $1 million for the terroristic threat charge and at $1 million each for two charges of insufficient bond. A sheriff’s office spokesman did not immediately return calls Saturday for more information.

Officials have not named Williams as a suspect in the March 30 shooting deaths of District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, or in the late January death of assistant DA Mark Hasse, who was fatally shot as he was leaving work in Kaufman, about 30 miles southeast of Dallas.

But federal and local authorities searched Williams’ home Friday as part of an investigation into the McLellands’ deaths.

The district attorney’s office prosecuted Williams, and he was convicted in March 2012 of burglary of a building and theft by a public servant. Williams, who was sentenced to two months of probation, lost his justice of the peace position as a result of the conviction.

Spokesmen for the FBI and the Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Friday they were executing a search warrant but declined to provide details. The sheriff’s office said the warrant’s underlying affidavit was ordered sealed by a judge.

Williams’ attorney, David Sergi, released a statement Friday saying his client “has cooperated with law enforcement and vigorously denies any and all allegations.”

“He wishes simply to get on with his life and hopes that the perpetrators are brought to justice,” Sergi said. Sergi did not immediately respond to a phone message left by The Associated Press on Saturday.

Earlier this month, Williams said he voluntarily submitted to a gun residue test and turned over his cellphone after authorities contacted him while investigating the deaths of the McLellands. Sergi has said Williams also submitted to a gun residue test and gave his cellphone to authorities when he was questioned after Hasse’s death.

Authorities have released little information about the case except to say they continue to follow leads, including possible ties to a white supremacist gang.

One month before Hasse’s death, the Texas Department of Public Safety issued a warning to authorities statewide that the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas could retaliate for an October indictment that targeted some of its leaders. McLelland’s office was involved in that investigation.

 

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