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Ex-judge, wife, charged with killing prosecutors in Texas

Los Angeles Times

A disgraced former justice of the peace and his wife are accused of killing the Texas prosecutors who ended his career.

Eric Lyle Williams and his wife, Kim Lene Williams, both 46, have been charged with capital murder in an apparent revenge plot that shook Kaufman County and had sparked fear of an unprecedented attack on the rule of law in Texas.

Suspicion of involvement by Mexican drug cartels or a white-supremacist prison gang faded, as officials believe the couple acted alone in killing Kaufman County Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse outside the county courthouse in late January, and District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, in their home on March 30.

Eric Williams did the shooting and Kim Williams did the driving in Hasse's killing, and she waited in the car while her husband killed the McLellands, Kaufman County Sheriff David Byrnes said yesterday.

"It's kind of mind-boggling to me that someone would go out and shoot three innocent people for any motive," Byrnes said. "It would appear any motive would be from his past legal problems."

Williams had been prosecuted by McLelland and Hasse in the theft of three computers. In that case, the prosecutors presented testimony that Williams had made death threats against a former girlfriend and an attorney. A jury found Williams guilty; he received two years' probation and lost his law license and job.

Byrnes said the case broke open when a storage unit was discovered containing weapons and a vehicle. Kim Williams confessed to her role and that of her husband, officials said, and a capital murder charge against her followed. Under Texas law, accomplices can be charged with the same charges as a main perpetrator.

Eric Williams has been in county jail since Saturday, arrested on suspicion of making a "terroristic threat" against investigators from his personal computer the day after the McLellands' deaths.

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