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Kaufman County Man Fulfills Promise To Murdered DA

KAUFMAN COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) - If you take a look at all the candidates who won primaries Tuesday night it will be hard to find one more emotional than Kaufman County's newest commissioner.

It was one year ago this month when Skeet Phillips discovered the bodies of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia.

This week Phillips fulfilled a promise he made to the couple and he's shared his story – for the first time – with CBS 11's J. D. Miles.

During the interview Phillips fought back tears. "I promised Cynthia I would do this," he said.

The 65-year-old kept a promise made last year to McLelland's that he would run for Kaufman County Commissioner.

Now Phillips is taking down campaign signs and celebrating a victory. "It worked out good. So, I guess she's up there looking at me, watching, and I'm sure she's jumping up and down."

Phillips made the promise only days before he found the couple dead inside their home in Forney. He told CBS 11 those events are hard to talk about.

Until now the new county leader has never spoken publicly about what he saw.

"It was a terrible day in my life," he said.

The McLelland's were shot multiple times. Phillips said he was concerned and finally went to the house when the couple didn't return calls.

"We went over and what we found is what we found… and that's basically all I want to talk about that." Thinking back to those tragic days Phillips remembered, "We didn't quit crying for a long time."

Former Kaufman County Justice of the Peace Eric Williams faces charges for killing the McLelland's and Kaufman County prosecutor Mark Hasse.

Authorities say the murders were an act of revenge after Williams was convicted of stealing.

Speaking of Williams and his wife, Kim, who also faces capital murder charges Phillips said, "I didn't know the man. But I hope they get what they deserve."

For Phillips to even consider political office after the murder of a close friend and prominent public figure may seem unimaginable. But it makes sense to the newly elected Place 2 Kaufman County Commissioner. "We've come from a really proud country and we're really proud Texans and I don't think we fear anybody."

That attitude has helped Phillips through the past 12 months and as he begins a new career in honor of another one.

Phillips has no Democratic opponent in the general election and will take office in January.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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