Eric Williams, Suspect in Kaufman County Killings: "My Life has Taken a Drastic Turn"

Categories: Crime

Thumbnail image for EricWilliamsMugShot.jpg
When Kaufman County Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse convinced a jury to convict a former Justice of the Peace on felony theft charges, Eric Lyle Williams said his life was effectively ruined over a "misunderstanding" and a "political grudge."

County information technology personnel came into the Kaufman sub-courthouse on a Monday in May 2011 and noticed three boxes with brand new Dell monitors were missing. They reviewed the surveillance footage from the weekend before and caught Williams hauling the boxes out of the IT office that Sunday. The sheriff was notified, a search warrant was signed and two of the monitors were recovered from Williams.

Williams maintained it was nothing more than a misunderstanding. "I did not steal anything," he said in court papers. "I was a Licensed Attorney and I had a Master TCLEOSE license," referring to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officers Standards and Education. "Why would I sacrifice all of that for two monitors?"

He claimed he was setting up a video conferencing system so he could carry out his duty as a magistrate from his office. The other JPs had discussed the idea on and off for years. But the head of the IT department said Williams wasn't authorized to take the monitors, and that they were intended for dispatch anyway.

Prior to trial, District Attorney Mike McLelland appeared ready to make an example of him. "This is the sort of thing that people elected me for in the first place. They were tired of wrongdoing being done in county government and nothing being done about it," he told the Terrell Tribune.

Hasse was willing to let Williams slide on a misdemeanor in exchange for a guilty plea, but Williams insisted on a jury trial. Meanwhile, he argued at pretrial hearings that he was the victim of a political vendetta. He'd supported McLelland's opponent, Rick Harrison, he said. Williams signed a campaign flier questioning the circumstances of McLelland's departure from a job at Child Protective Services and raising doubt about his Republican credentials during McLelland's unsuccessful 2006 run for district attorney.

"This is an example of one man using his office, and all its power, to ruin a political opponent," Williams' attorney argued in court papers.

The jury didn't buy it, and convicted him on May 23, 2012. "Losing my Attorney's License and TCLEOSE License is a life long sentence," Williams said in a presentencing report. "I will have to seek another career, with a felony I will not be able to earn what I am used to. My life has taken a drastic turn."

His wife, he noted, was on disability, and his in-laws depended on him. Williams got no jail time, and a two-year probated sentence.

Now he appears to be a suspect in the slayings of McLelland, his wife, Cynthia, and Hasse. According to an arrest warrant, he sent an anonymous email to unnamed law enforcement authorities on March 31 -- the day after the McLellands were found shot to death in their Forney home -- threatening further attacks if certain demands weren't met.

Investigators served him with a search warrant Friday afternoon and looked through his home, along with a storage unit in Seagoville, where they found weapons and a Crown Victoria. A search warrant affidavit hasn't been released yet, which could explain what investigators were looking for and why.

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17 comments
EarleCabell
EarleCabell

I wonder if Williams would have knocked off McLelland had he not stood in front of the cameras during the post-Hasse murder press conference and, acting like a big ole tough yee-haw confederate, cigarette-smoking loser, proclaim "We're gonna find youuuuu, and pull youuuuuu out of whatever hole you're hidin in and bring youuuuuu back to Kaufman County and prosecute youuuu to the fullest extent of the law."


Perhaps that challenge is what set Williams off and, in turn, knock off the DA? Maybe that will come out in the trial? You don't challenge criminals on the loose like that. Heck, as a parent, you don't challenge your kids like that, because they will test you like it's nobody's bidness.

MikeWestEast
MikeWestEast

How was it a life long sentence? Dallas County had someone hiring contract killers and we still could not keep her license away for more than a few years. The DA was right to make an example out of him. Mr. Watkins needs to follow suit with the thieves at City Hall. Maybe we would have fewer acts of corruption.

garlandsucks
garlandsucks

the whole thing stinks...in my heart of hearts I believe all involved were engaged in illicit activities.

sirak63
sirak63

 The reason while he would risk his job and his beloved TCLEOSE is because he thought he was above the law. He had worked into a position that he thought he could do what ever he wanted and if caught it would be protected by the good old boy network. 
The Kaufman wrote in the piece concerning the original indictments that Williams was carrying a scanner around the county offices while checking things out.  
http://www.kaufmanherald.com/news/article_32dde4b2-9fbe-5a55-8925-c8c68fa18b2d.html

I lived in Kaufman and actually retained Mr  Williams as lawyer for my divorce. It was short lived as he lied . Even today the court documents say one thing totally different from what I requested and what was discussed in emails.  I feel sad for the community. I feel sad for his wife, but the political vendetta that is being played out was Mr Williams seeking vengeance for getting caught.


ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Where are all the Aryan Brotherhood and Mex Cartels???  Could the media have been wrong???


Bloviation is the root of all evil.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Taking one monitor temporarily if the one at home broke, maybe.  But, taking two?  And I would still let someone know, even if I were in charge.

GuitarPlayer
GuitarPlayer

High society white on white crime. This shit is to uppity for 48 Hours. 

retrogirl
retrogirl

OK , So I get that he was not a good lawyer, or didn't communicate well with you, but your reference is about "theft" of items  $500-$1500. (!)  Two of three monitors were in his(publicly accessible?) office -where he was presumably doing public business- and one in his truck.  The "threatened " girl friend incident was in the distant past and there was a threat "overheard" by an individual also in the distant past, who did not take it seriously. Those individuals did not report any of this in the past...

Meanwhile the tragically murdered DA and Asst. DA are  originally potrayed  in the media as fearlessly  taking on all kinds of organized crime evil doers, when in fact there was pretty much small town political railroading going on between them and this former JP.  Just goes to show that in Texas" small town  justice" is an oxymoron.

WatchingSouthDetroit
WatchingSouthDetroit

Actually - he took 3.  They found 2 in one location and 1 in another location.  I guess he thought he was "entitled" to  steal.

WatchingSouthDetroit
WatchingSouthDetroit

Bottom line - he was NOT authorized to take those monitors.  The artcle said the moniters were slated for other locatons.  He did not have the right to go into any county office and help himself to anything he wanted.

EarleCabell
EarleCabell

@WatchingSouthDetroit -- Yeah, really. Why didn't he just fill out the required paperwork, asking for monitors or for whatever else he needed to do his job? Because, as some of you have written, he thought he was above the law?


I wonder if he's the same judge that Forney teachers used to complain about? When kids got kicked off Forney ISD campuses, then got kicked out of Forney's alternative Discipline Alternative Education Program, those kids were ticketed and went before a judge. I was told a couple years ago, there was a Kaufman County judge who would let kids slide, especially sobbing girls, so the kids learned there would be little or no consequence. Was that Williams?

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