Authorities find ‘strong evidence’ linking former judge to Texas prosecutor murders

By Stephen C. Webster
Sunday, April 14, 2013 17:22 EDT
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Former Texas JP judge Eric Williams. Photo: Kaufman County Sheriff's Department.
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Former Kaufman County Justice of the Peace Eric Williams, 46, was arrested Saturday after authorities discovered what they’re calling “strong evidence” linking him to the killings of two Kaufman County prosecutors and the district attorney’s wife.

Williams was the first person authorities publicly acknowledged questioning in the murder investigation, which many believed the work of a white supremacist prison gang that prosecutors in Kaufman County were bringing cases against.

However, police told Dallas ABC News affiliate WFAA-TV on Sunday that “strong evidence” has been found linking Williams to the killings of former District Attorney Mike McClelland and prosecutor Mike Haase, although Williams has not yet been charged.

A search warrant executed on Friday uncovered weapons similar to those used to kill former Kaufman County District Attorney, police added. They followed up with searches of his home, his in-laws’ home, and Williams’ personal storage unit. Williams was ultimately booked into jail just after midnight on Sunday morning.

Official sources would not comment on other details of the investigation, other than to say Williams was arrested on a charge of making a terroristic threat and insufficient bond. He has not yet been charged with murder.

If Williams is in fact connected to the murders, it’s possible that he did not act alone. Witnesses to the Haase murder said that two men seemingly wearing body armor shot the Hasse in broad daylight and left the scene in a silver Ford Taurus. No shell casings were found. The second attack, against DA McClelland and his wife, was just as brazen but executed under the cover of darkness, leaving a scene littered with shell casings.

McClelland’s murder occurred days after the killing of Colorado’s top prisons official, who was allegedly shot point-blank by a white supremacist gang mamber when he opened his front door. The gun used in that murder was found by Texas police not far from Kaufman County, after 28-year-old Evan Ebel engaged police in a shootout following a car chase. Ebel was shot in the head during that gunfight and later died.

A suicide note reviewed by The Colorado Independent revealed that he was bent on revenge after spending months in solitary confinement during his time in prison, following a lawsuit that he won by claiming his punishment was “cruel and unusual.”

Ebel’s connection to a Colorado-based white supremacist prison gang, and his proximity to Kaufman County at the time of his death, led some to speculate that the prosecutor killings might be connected to a broader effort to target law enforcement personnel. That very threat was laid out last year by a Texas-based white supremacist gang that’s facing an unprecedented crackdown by multiple law enforcement agencies.

Police sources told Dallas-based CBS 11 that Williams is likely to be charged with all three murders. He was previously interviewed by investigators, during which time he’s said to have willingly submitted to ballistics testing for gunpowder residue on his skin, and allegedly turned his phone records over to police. Williams was prosecuted by Hasse and McClelland in 2012 after he was caught stealing computer equipment. He was subsequently removed from office and disbarred.

This video is from WFAA-TV, aired Sunday, April 14, 2013.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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