April 13, 2013

After home searched, Texas man charged with threat

The Associated Press

KAUFMAN, Texas — Authorities investigating the death of a Texas district attorney searched the home of a former justice of the peace and charged him Saturday with making a "terroristic threat."

Eric Williams was admitted to the Kaufman County Jail early Saturday morning, jail records show. A hearing was scheduled for Saturday, a Kaufman County Jail spokesperson said.

Officials have not named Williams, 46, as a suspect in the March 30 deaths of District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, 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 and convicted Williams last year for theft. He lost his justice of the peace position as a result.

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 warrant's underlying affidavit has been ordered sealed by a judge, said sheriff's Lt. Justin Lewis.

A listed phone number for Williams went unanswered Friday afternoon. But his 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.

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.

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