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Mike McLelland Murder Update: Eric Williams, former justice of peace prosecuted by slain DA, jailed as investigation continues

This photo provided by the Kaufman County Sheriff's Office shows Eric Williams. Williams was admitted to the Kaufman County Jail, in Kaufman, Texas, early Saturday, April 13, 2013, and charged with making a "terroristic threat." Federal and local authorities searched Williams' home Friday as part of an investigation into the deaths of District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia. (AP Photo/Kaufman County Sheriff's Office) Uncredited

Eric Williams was admitted to the Kaufman County Jail, in Kaufman, Texas, on April 13, 2013, and charged with making a "terroristic threat."
AP Photo/Kaufman County Sheriff's Office
(CBS/AP) KAUFMAN, Texas - Authorities investigating the deaths of a North Texas district attorney and his wife appear to have narrowed their focus on Eric Lyle Williams, a former justice of the peace who was prosecuted last year by the official for theft.

Authorities investigating the deaths of Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, arrested the 46-year-old Williams and charged him Saturday with making a "terroristic threat" after searching his home.

The Dallas Morning News says it was a threatening e-mail traced to Williams, which led to his arrest for making terroristic threats.

Williams was admitted to the Kaufman County Jail early Saturday morning, jail records show. Bond was set at $1 million for the terroristic threat charge and at $1 million each for two charges of insufficient bond.

However, officials have not named Williams as a suspect in the March 30 shooting deaths of District Attorney McLelland and his wife, or in the late January death of assistant DA Mark Hasse, who was fatally shot as he was leaving work in Kaufman, about 30 miles southeast of Dallas.

But federal and local authorities searched Williams' home Friday as part of an investigation into the McLellands' deaths.

The district attorney's office prosecuted Williams, and he was convicted in March 2012 of burglary of a building and theft by a public servant. Williams, who was sentenced to two months of probation, lost his justice of the peace position as a result of the conviction.

Spokesmen for the FBI and the Kaufman County Sheriff's Office confirmed Friday they were executing a search warrant but declined to provide details. The sheriff's office said the warrant's underlying affidavit was ordered sealed by a judge.

Sources tell CBS News that Williams has been high on the list of potential suspects and McLelland was suspicious of him after Hasse's murder.

Williams' attorney, David Sergi, released a statement Friday saying his client "has cooperated with law enforcement and vigorously denies any and all allegations."

"He wishes simply to get on with his life and hopes that the perpetrators are brought to justice," Sergi said.

Earlier this month, Williams said he voluntarily submitted to a gun residue test and turned over his cellphone after authorities contacted him while investigating the deaths of the McLellands. Sergi has said Williams also submitted to a gun residue test and gave his cellphone to authorities when he was questioned after Hasse's death.

Authorities have released little information about the case except to say they continue to follow leads, including possible ties to a white supremacist gang.

One month before Hasse's death, the Texas Department of Public Safety issued a warning to authorities statewide that the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas could retaliate for an October indictment that targeted some of its leaders. McLelland's office was involved in that investigation.

Complete coverage of Mike McLelland on Crimesider

  • Crimesider Staff

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