KAUFMAN, Texas — Sources tell News 8 there is strong evidence linking former Kaufman County Justice of the Peace Eric Williams to the murders of District Attorney Mike McClelland and his wife and to the murder of prosecutor Mark Hasse.
Charges are expected soon.
According to sources, weapons similar to those used in the murders were found during the search of Williams’ Kaufman residence on Friday. State and federal agents executed a search warrant at a storage facility in Seagoville on Saturday night, but they would not say whether that development was linked to Williams.
Williams was jailed after being arrested early Saturday morning. Law enforcement sources confirmed to WFAA that Williams, 46, was picked up at his home and taken to the Kaufman County Jail. The jail website showed that he was booked at 12:32 a.m.
The arrest follows Friday’s exhaustive search of his Kaufman home by federal agents.
Late Saturday, Kaufman County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Lt. Justin Lewis told News 8 that Williams has not been charged with the McLelland or Hasse murders and is not a suspect or a prime suspect.
FBI spokeswoman Katherine Chaumont in Seagoville echoed Lt. Lewis’ statement.
“Now knowing that they arrested him on a terroristic threat charge, it could just be one of those things that he made comments to somebody and they are having to run down those leads,” said legal expert and attorney Pete Schulte.
Bond was set at $3 million total; $1 million for the threat charge and $1 million each on two charges of “insufficient bond.”
“To raise it as high as $1 million, the judge is like, ‘You know the best place for Mr. Williams at this point is in jail until we can figure out what’s going on,’” Schulte said.
As of late Saturday night, Williams had not been charged with any murders. Our calls to Williams’ attorney were not returned.
Williams was convicted last year of stealing from the county. He lost his position as justice of the peace because of it.
Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse and District Attorney Mike McClelland are the two who prosecuted him. McLelland was murdered last month; Hasse was slain in January.
“Who knows what a man who had his life pulled out from under him could be motivated to do?” asked Richard Mohundro, a neighbor of Williams.
Investigators spent hours at Williams’ home and that of his in-laws on Friday. The two families live on the same street in Kaufman. They removed boxes, computers and guns.
It’s now been two weeks since investigators found the bodies of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife in their home near Forney. Prosecutor Mark Hasse was shot and killed on his way to the courthouse on January 31.
While Eric Williams has links to both McLelland and Hasse, he has not been charged in connection with their deaths. The Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office said no additional information about Williams’ arrest would be forthcoming on Saturday.
Williams’ attorney, David Sergi, issued this statement on Friday, before the arrest:
“He 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.”
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.
Two other men have been arrested this month for “making a terroristic threat” in connection to the Kaufman County DA murder investigation.
Robert Miller is accused of threatening a county official on Facebook. Nick Morale is accused of leaving a threatening message on a telephone tip line set up to solicit information about the murders. Miler and Morale both remain jailed on $1 million bond each.
A prayer walk is planned at the courthouse in Kaufman on Sunday afternoon on behalf of county workers and anyone else affected by the murders of two top officials. The walk is scheduled from noon until 1:30 p.m.
The number for the tip line is 877-847-7522.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.