Jailed wife of disgraced judge claims he was triggerman in Kaufman County killings

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by WFAA & KHOU.com staff

khou.com

Posted on April 17, 2013 at 8:28 AM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 17 at 5:46 PM

Kaufman County, Texas

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KAUFMAN COUNTY, Texas --The wife of a former justice of the peace has been charged with three counts of capital murder for the shooting deaths of the Kaufman County DA, his wife and an assistant prosecutor.

Kim Lene Williams was arrested early Wednesday. Kaufman County sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Justin Lewis said Williams is being charged with all three deaths and being held on $10 million bond.

An affidavit released by the sheriff’s department Wednesday claims Mrs. Williams confessed that her husband was the person who pulled the trigger in all three shooting deaths.

Quoting from the affidavit: "Kim Williams described in detail her role along that of her husband, Eric Williams whom she reported to have shot to death Mark Hasse on January 31, 2013 and Michael and Cynthia McLelland on March 30, 2013." 

The document alleges she told police details about the murders that were not made public.

 "Out of respect for the families of the victims, during this time, we are not answering any questions at this briefing until we’re able to brief the family on the events of the past several days," Lt. Justin Lewis, a spokesman with the Kaufman County Sheriff’s Department, said Wednesday afternoon.

Williams' arrest is the latest twist in an investigation that has also focused on her husband, who was prosecuted for theft by Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and one of his prosecutors, Mark Hasse.

McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, were found dead March 30, two months after Hasse was slain outside the local courthouse.

Eric Williams, also 46, was arrested on a terroristic threat charge at his home early Saturday morning. He is being held at the Kaufman County Jail on a $3 million bond.

Authorities said they were able to trace a threatening e-mail sent to county officials the day after the McLellands were fatally shot in their home back to Mr. Williams. The e-mail, sent anonymously, threatened more attacks.

Sources say authorities are awaiting ballistic test results on weapons found in a storage locker rented in Seagoville on behalf of the former justice of the peace. More than 20 weapons were found inside the locker.

"I don't think anybody could have written a novel that would have played out this story like it has come," said County Judge Bruce Wood. "This is a tragedy any way you look at it." 

Wood said he was in a state of "shock and disbelief" at the news of the arrests. He noted that McLelland expressed concern regarding Williams after Hasse was killed.

Mr. McLelland and Hasse were involved in the prosecution of Mr. Williams, who was convicted of stealing three computer monitors from the county and lost his license to practice law in March of 2012.

The two vigorously prosecuted  Williams, with Hasse calling him a "liar," a "thief" and a crooked official."

"Mr. McLelland indicated to me very early on the day of Mark's murder that he felt like the person that needed to be investigated was Eric Williams," Wood said.

Williams is appealing his convictions.

In the sentencing phase of his trial, 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."

Neighbors and coworkers described the couple as reserved. Some said Mr. Williams was a loner. 

"I would speak to him and it was like I was invisible, he never acknowledged I was there," said Diane Childs, a neighbor. "You would never think in real life that would be happening in your neighborhood." 

Kim Williams worked for Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Kaufman from May of 1999 until January of 2003. 

"I think a lot of us thought Mexican drug cartel or the Aryan Brotherhood, something like that," Childs said. "I never dreamed it would be three houses down from us." 

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