Former justice of the peace at center of Texas DA death probe

(CBS News) KAUFMAN, Texas - For the last month, Texas authorities have been looking for a killer of three people, including two prosecutors in Kaufman County -- about 30 miles southeast of Dallas.

In the last 72 hours, the search for clues has narrowed to two locations -- and apparently one man.

Investigators searched a storage facility Saturday, about 10 miles from where the murders happened. They pulled a white Crown Victoria from one unit. The Dallas Morning News reports they also found 20 guns. A law enforcement source says ballistic tests are being done on the weapons to see if they are connected to the murders.

Just a day before, the search focused on the Kaufman, Texas, home of a man who knew the victims, Eric Williams.

Miller: Texas judge has "no grudge" as probe expands in prosecutor deaths
Authorities search home in slain Texas DA investigation
Man probed in Texas prosecutor deaths charged with crime

Williams is a former Kaufman county justice of the peace. He was fired last year after being convicted of stealing computer equipment from the county.

Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse and District Attorney Mike McLelland prosecuted the case against Williams.

Hasse was killed in January outside the county courthouse. McLelland and his wife were found shot to death in their home last month.

Sources tell CBS News correspondent Bob Orr that Williams has been high on the list of potential suspects and McLelland was suspicious of him after Hasse's murder. But while the judge is at the center of the investigation, he's not its prime suspect.

Williams denied any involvement in an interview two weeks ago.

"My heart goes out to all the families that have been affected by this tragedy," Williams said. "And especially the people that work at the courthouse."

His attorney said Williams "has cooperated with law enforcement" and he "hopes that the perpetrators are brought to justice."

The Dallas Morning News says it was a threatening email traced to Williams, which led to his arrest Saturday for making terroristic threats. He is not charged with the killings.

The murders have transformed this community of 7,000 people. Every day since the McLellands were murdered, some residents have gathered at the county courthouse to pray.

"These are good people that their lives were taken because they were doing their jobs and protecting our community," said Gina Cobb, who knew the McLellands.

  • Manuel Bojorquez

Comments

CBSN Live

pop-out
Live Video

Follow Us

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.

On Twitter