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Eric Williams's bust in Texas DA murders nixes theory about Colorado white supremacy link

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.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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