Former County Judge Questioned in Texas DA’s Slaying

By Matthew DeLuca, Staff Writer, NBC News,  April 3, 2013

A former judge in Kaufman County, Texas, who lost his job when he was convicted of theft says he was questioned by agents investigating the double slaying of a district attorney and his wife.
Eric Williams, who served as a county justice of the peace before his conviction, said he did not mind investigators questioning him as they follow every possible lead in the brazen killings that have chilled the small town of Forney.

Williams said he had nothing to doing with the McLellands’ violent deaths, and said prosecutors were doing nothing more than their jobs when they convicted him on a theft charge – a conviction that cost Williams his job and his law license. He is appealing the conviction.

Investigators are looking into a number of theories in the case, including whether a white supremacist prison gang called the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas might have been involved, federal prosecutors told NBC News. Other possible leads may point to drug cartels or a single, angry gunman.

“If I was in their shoes, I would want to talk to me,” Williams told NBC Dallas-Fort Worth. “In the investigators’ minds, they want to check with me to do their process of elimination.”

Kaufman County district attorney Mike McLelland was shot at 20 times and his wife Cynthia was shot once in their home on Saturday, a federal source with knowledge of the investigation told NBC News on Tuesday. The source did not say how many times the slain DA was hit. An earlier affidavit said that both of the victims were struck by multiple bullets, and the reason for the discrepancy remained unclear on Wednesday.

Yet none of the theories stands out as a likely explanation for the shocking killings, a federal source told NBC News.

Williams also said he had no role in the still-unsolved shooting death of Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse, who was gunned down in broad daylight on January 31. Hasse, whose death McLelland had vowed to solve, prosecuted Williams’ theft case, NBC Dallas-Fort Worth reported.

Williams says he has nothing to hide.

A former police officer, Williams said he was contacted by investigators on Saturday night, just hours after McLelland and his wife were found dead.

“I’ve cooperated with law enforcement,” Williams said. “I certainly wish them the best in bringing justice to this incredibly egregious act.”

Williams said he met with the agents at a restaurant, where they conducted a test for gunpowder residue on his hands. He also turned over his cellphone along with his wife’s, Williams said. The investigators gave the phones back to him on Sunday.

“I know I didn’t do anything,” Williams said. “I know where I was.”

NBC News’ Pete Williams and Jeff Black contributed to this report.

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