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Government Former Kaufman County justice of peace sentenced to death in revenge plot

Former Kaufman County justice of peace sentenced to death in revenge plot

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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.

ROCKWALL, Texas (AP) — A former justice of the peace in North Texas was sentenced to death Wednesday for killing a district attorney’s wife in what prosecutors described as a revenge plot that left three people dead.

Eric Williams was convicted Dec. 4 of capital murder in the 2013 death of Cynthia McLelland, who was slain along with her husband, Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland, in their home east of Dallas.

Williams has been charged, but not tried, in the deaths of Mike McLelland and prosecutor Mark Hasse.

 

The 47-year-old Williams lost his job and law license after McLelland and Hasse prosecuted him for theft and burglary.

 

Prosecutors say that conviction pushed Williams over the edge. During his trial, they presented evidence that he paid a friend to rent a storage unit where he kept more than 30 guns, police tactical gear and a getaway car.

 

Authorities say a masked Williams gunned down Hasse in January 2013 outside a courthouse building in broad daylight.

 

Prosecutors say a “masked assassin” whom they identified as Williams approached Hasse as he walked to work and the two shoved each other. 

 

They said Hasse pleaded and yelled “I’m sorry” before he was repeatedly 

shot.

 

Two months later, Williams stormed into the McLellands’ rural home and shot both the district attorney and his wife more than a dozen times each, according to evidence at his trial.

 

Williams’ wife, Kim, is accused of helping him carry out the slayings and testified before closing arguments Tuesday that she drove the getaway car in Hasse’s death and helped her husband dispose of weapons used in the shooting of the McClellands.

 

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