Former Texas justice of the peace sentenced to death for revenge murder
A Texas jury on Wednesday sentenced to death a former justice of the peace convicted of murdering a suburban Dallas prosecutor’s wife in a revenge plot, with the judge saying he acted like some of the most notorious killers in recent U.S. history.
The same jury that convicted Eric Williams, 47, on Dec. 4 of murdering Cynthia McLelland sentenced him to death after deliberating for less than four hours.
Williams has also been charged with murdering District Attorney Mike McLelland, who was Cynthia McClelland’s husband, and Kaufman County Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse.
Prosecutors said Williams wanted to get back at them for obtaining a theft conviction that cost him his job and law license.
After the verdict, Dallas County Judge Mike Snipes told Williams that he was never fooled by his lawyer-like demeanor in the courtroom, likening him to Charles Manson and Jeffrey Dahmer.
“The people of Kaufman County have been scared for a year. They do not have to be scared any more,” Snipes said.
Hasse was gunned down outside the Kaufman County Courthouse on Jan. 31, 2013, and the McClellands were fatally shot inside their home on March 30, 2013.
Williams’ estranged wife, Kim, who is also charged with capital murder and will be tried separately, told jurors on Tuesday that Eric Williams began forming a mental hit list of people involved in his prosecution.
She added that Cynthia McLelland was not on that list but her husband later told her he considered McLelland “collateral damage.”
Williams never looked up from the table as the victim’s family members told him how these murders impacted their lives.
Nathan Foreman, Cynthia’s son, said that the loss of his mother is a hole that can never be filled.
“I believe it’s important not to hate, I work on that daily. But I cannot forgive and I cannot forget,” he said.
(Reporting by Lisa Maria Garza; Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by W Simon)