Wife of disgraced judge charged with murder in Texas DA case

Officials in Texas' Kaufman County have charged a woman with capital murder in the deaths of the county's DA, his wife, and the assistant DA. Her husband, a judge who lost his job, has also been charged with making 'terroristic threats.'

Michael Ainsworth/The Dallas Morning News/AP
Authorities search a storage unit at Gibson Self Storage Saturday as they continue to investigate the slayings of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland, his wife, and a top prosecutor in Seagoville, Texas.

Texas authorities arrested and charged a woman with capital murder in connection to the killings of a district attorney, his wife, and an assistant district attorney, officials announced Wednesday.

Information about the arrest of Kim Williams, the wife of a former judge who is also implicated in the investigation, was originally leaked by an anonymous source. Mrs. Williams was booked at 3 a.m. at Kaufman County Jail and is being held on a $10 million bond, an officer told the Associated Press early Wednesday. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the ongoing investigation of the shootings of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia last month and Assistant District Attorney Mark Hesse in January.

In a press conference Wednesday, Lt. Justin Lewis of the Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the that Williams is charged with three murders and being held on bail, but he offered no further details and took no questions. 

An arrest warrant affidavit released by the sheriff’s office said that Mrs. Williams “described in detail her role and that of her husband” in the shootings, providing details that were not publicly released, reported the Associated Press.

Both Mr. McLelland and Mr. Hesse prosecuted a case against Mrs. Williams’s husband, former justice of the peace Eric Williams, last year. A jury found Mr. Williams guilty of stealing three computers from a county building, and he received two years probation, losing his elected position of justice of the peace and his law license, NBC reported.

Mr. Williams was arrested Saturday morning and charged with making “terroristic threats,” reported the Star-Telegram in Fort Worth, Texas. A copy of a misdemeanor affidavit states that Mr. Williams sent an e-mail from his personal computer to police a day after the McLellands were killed, which threatened that “another attack would occur” unless police met the writer’s demands. He is being held on a $3 million bond.

The New York Times reported that police searched a self-storage unit near Kaufman, Texas, which Mr. Wiliams tried to conceal from authorities. At the storage unit, Mr. Williams stored a white sedan and more than 20 guns, including assault rifles and handguns. The white Ford Crown Victoria was purchased under someone else’s name, and it matches the description of a car that fled the scene of Hasse’s murder in January.

Kaufman residents are anxious for this case to be solved, Kaufman County Judge Bruce Wood told the Star-Telegram.

“We do need this nightmare to start ending and that's what we're hoping and praying for,” Judge Wood said. “We need something to occur that we will feel good about.”

Wood added that McLelland told him that he believed Mr. Williams was responsible for killing Hasse.

“He thought that from day one,” Wood said. “He never wavered.... He said he knew he did it but he just couldn't get the evidence to prove he did it.”

If convicted of capital murder, Mrs. Williams could face the death penalty. In Texas penal code, capital murder charges involve “severe crimes, including the killing of a peace officer or a child, a murder in exchange for payment or in a prison, or the killing of more than one person,” the Times reported.

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.