Sheriff: Storage unit led to arrests in DA deaths

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KAUFMAN, Texas (AP) — A tip pointing to a cache of guns and a vehicle hidden at a storage unit helped investigators unravel a meticulous revenge plot that had culminated in the killings of three people, including two North Texas prosecutors, a sheriff said.

Former justice of the peace Eric Lyle Williams, and his wife, Kim Williams, are charged with capital murder in the fatal shootings of District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, and assistant prosecutor Mark Hasse.

Investigators say the prosecutors had been concerned that William might be a threat to them after they successfully prosecuted him for theft last year, even going to the extent of carrying handguns following Williams’ conviction.

Williams was sentenced to two years’ probation, lost his law license and his elected position as justice of the peace — a judge who handles mostly administrative duties.

Hasse was shot by a masked gunman in January as he made his way to his courthouse office. The McLellands were gunned down two months later at their rural home.

Sheriff David Byrnes told reporters Thursday that while Williams “has always been on the radar” — investigators questioned him after Hasse’s slaying and again after the McLellands’ deaths — authorities did not have the evidence to tie everything together until they found the storage unit. Authorities say a friend of Williams’ told them about the weapons.

“The discovery of the storage locker probably was the watershed event that put us on to this,”

Byrnes said.

Authorities allege Eric Williams, 46, was the gunman in all of the slayings. They say his wife, who is also 46, was the getaway driver when her husband shot Hasse. They contend she was a passenger when her husband drove to the McLellands’ home to carry out those killings early on the morning of March 30.

“Basically, this was a collaborative effort between Eric Williams and his wife,” Byrnes said.

Eric Williams is being held on $23 million bail, and his wife is being held on $3 million bail. Online jail records do not indicate attorneys representing the couple.

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