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Former official questioned in Texas prosecutor killings

KAUFMAN, Texas — A former justice of the peace who has been questioned in the killings of two prosecutors here was arrested early Saturday on charges that included making a threat, the authorities said.

The charges against the former official, Eric Williams, 46, are not believed to be connected to the killings.

He was in custody at the Kaufman County jail on a $3 million bail after being admitted there just after 12:30 a.m. Saturday, the authorities said.

On March 30, the county district attorney, Mike McLelland, 63, and his wife, Cynthia, 65, were found shot to death at their home in a rural subdivision outside Dallas. In January, an assistant district attorney, Mark Hasse, 57, was gunned down in a parking lot near the county courthouse.

Law enforcement officials with local, state and federal agencies had questioned Williams, tested him for gunshot residue, examined his cellphones and searched his home Friday as part of the investigation into the killings.

Williams was successfully prosecuted by Hasse and McLelland last year on charges of stealing computer equipment from a county building. He was convicted of burglary and theft charges, sentenced to two years' probation and fined $2,500. Williams was removed from office by a state judicial commission, and his law license was suspended by a disciplinary board. He also faces separate theft charges from his time as law librarian at the Kaufman County courthouse before he became justice of the peace.

Neither the FBI nor local law enforcement officials would give details about the arrest or the nature of the alleged threat. One person familiar with the specifics of Williams' arrest for what the authorities called a terroristic threat said the charge might be related to a call Williams made on a crime-tip hotline.

Williams and one of his lawyers, David Sergi, have repeatedly maintained that he had nothing to do with either of the shootings. On Saturday, Sergi reiterated that his client did not hold a grudge against the prosecutors and that he had been cooperating with investigators.

Former official questioned in Texas prosecutor killings 04/13/13 [Last modified: Sunday, April 14, 2013 1:23am]
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