Earlier this month, speculation was rife that the killings of Texas prosecutor Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia, as well as an earlier slaying, might be linked to the March assassination of Tom Clements, who headed Colorado's Department of Corrections. The theory involved white supremacist prison gangs, of which Evan Ebel, who's thought to have killed Clements and pizza-delivery man Nathan Leon, is said to have belonged. But now, the arrest of Eric Williams, seen here, in the McLelland case explodes that theory.
As we noted earlier this month, the connection between the cases seemed unlikely at first blush. After all, Ebel is dead, having been gunned down after shooting a deputy and leading authorities on a wild car chase that ended with him being shot in the head; he only lived long enough afterward for his organs to be harvested.
Then again, these last events took place in Texas -- and the weaponry and bomb-making equipment found afterward in Ebel's 1991 Cadillac suggested at least the possibility that he had other crimes planned.
Moreover, the Denver Post had floated the theory that Clements's killing may have been the equivalent of a hit placed on him by the racist 211 prison gang, of which Ebel was reportedly a member. The suggested reason: retribution for transferring leaders in an effort to dilute the strength of the group.
In addition, Deputy Joe Roybal, speaking for the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, confirmed to ABC News that the slayings of the McLellands and Mark Hasse, killed in January, were definitely on the EPCSO's radar because of cases involving white-supremacy prison gangs the latter two men had prosecuted. An excerpt from the ABC News report:
After Clements' murder, authorities in Colorado had made contact with Texas investigators to look for possible links between his murder and that of Kaufman County Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse....
Joe Roybal, a deputy with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office in Colorado, said investigators had laid off of the case for a while, but re-contacted their counterparts in Texas after they heard about McLellands' murder.
Understandable, since the details of the Texas killings had at least a superficial resemblance to the targeting of Clements, who was shot to death after opening the front door of his home in Monument.
At around 9 a.m. on January 31, according to the New York Daily News, Hasse, a 57-year-old assistant district attorney in Kaufman County, had parked his car in Kaufman, a town with just 7,000 residents, and was walking to the courthouse when he was approached by two suspects.
The pair then opened fire, striking and killing Hasse before fleeing the scene in a vehicle described as a a brown or silver Ford Taurus.
Afterward, McLelland, Hasse's immediate supervisor in Kauman County, commented on the killing. From the Daily News: "District Attorney Mike McLelland confirmed that his department has been involved in Aryan Brotherhood cases in the last two years."
Granted, Hasse wasn't currently prosecuting anything related to the Brotherhood, a well-known white-supremacist prison organization. But suspicions about linkage only increased after the murders of McLelland and his wife.
Continue for more about the arrests in the Texas prosecutor murders, including photos and an arrest warrant. The deaths of the McLellands took place at around 6 p.m. on March 30 in Kauman. Sources told a Dallas TV station that a police officer who was friendly with the couple stopped by their house on Saturday evening to find the front door ajar.
Cynthia McLelland's body is said to have been found in the front room, while her husband's was in the hallway.
To say these factors offered no definitive proof of a tie to the Clements killing is to understate the obvious. The evidence released to the public right after the McLellands' deaths was not only circumstantial but vague.
Moreover, local sources speaking to Westword raised questions about the 211 prison gang conspiracy theory offered by the Post. But that didn't snuff out the theory that the Texas murders and the death of Clements might be connected -- at least until the arrest of Williams's wife, Kim, and her statements about the complicity of her husband, Eric, who was already in custody.
That's because the motive appears to be simple revenge.
As reported by CBS, Eric Williams is a former Justice of the Peace who was sacked after being caught on surveillance cameras swiping some computer equipment from a Kaufman County building.
His prosecutors in the case? Hasse and McLelland.
Following Hasse's murder, Williams was not only quizzed but tested for gunpowder residue, but no arrest was made. That changed after the McLellands died, however. A few days later, Williams allegedly sent a threatening e-mail that was traced to his computer and led to him being taken into custody. Then, on April 16, Kim Williams was questioned, and the answers she provided led to her arrest. Here's an excerpt from the her arrest warrant, on view below:
During the interview, Kim Williams confessed to her involvement to the scheme and course of conduct in the shooting deaths of Mark Hasse, Michael McLelland and Cynthia McLelland. Kim Williams described in detail her role along with that of her husband, Eric Williams, whom she reported to have shot to death Mark Hasse on January 31, 2013, and Michael and Cynthia McLelland on March 30, 2013. During the interview, the defendant gave details of both offenses which had not been made public.
At this writing, Eric is being held on $3 million bond, and Kim's is even higher -- $10 million. And while both are presumed innocent until proven guilty, the notion that Evan Ebel or his associates had something to do with the Texas murders has already been thoroughly discredited.
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Here's a look at Eric Williams's twin mug shots, plus the Kim Williams arrest warrant.