KAUFMAN COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – CBS 11 News has learned a tip led investigators to an area just down the street from where the Kaufman County District Attorney and his wife were murdered. The tip suggests the suspect or suspects may have been conducting surveillance in the days before the deadly shooting in which Mike McLelland was shot at 20 times and hit multiple times. His wife, Cynthia, was also shot more than once.
CBS 11 has obtained exclusive video of evidence found in relation to the murders.
Kaufman County crime scene technicians focused on tire tracks found just down the road from DA McLelland’s home, on Blarney Stone Road. While thoroughly going over the area, technicians also marked the ground where they found a number of cigarette butts.
While investigators aren’t talking, CBS 11 has learned that neighbors reported seeing a suspicious vehicle parked at that same corner, the week before the McLellands’ were shot and killed in their home.
Residents, who didn’t want to talk on camera for fear of their own safety, said they saw an older, beaten-up white-colored SUV parked at the corner for four days and that there appeared to be four men inside the vehicle.
Investigators are also trying to determine if the McLelland murders were captured on video tape.
A source very close to the investigation confirms the D-A had a surveillance camera in his home to allow him to watch his wife, who had health problems.
Our source says he could monitor what was happening at the home from his office, but that the DA did not install the camera out of security concerns and it likely did not record. Law enforcement has tried to retrieve video but has been unsuccessful.
The McLelland murders took place almost two months, to the day, after Kaufman County Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse was shot and killed as he made his way from a parking lot the courthouse.
Former Dallas Special FBI Agent-In-Charge Danny Defenbaugh said there is a good reason why investigators are saying very little about the McLelland case. “If they get a good lead and someone says, ‘I know this about the case,’ then you let them tell you so to see if ‘this’ matches evidence they have. So, you can actually take and verify someone’s credibility.
Defenbaugh believes, “They’re looking at every aspect of the case to see what nexus there can be between the two of them.” The former Dallas FBI agent is among those who believe the McLelland slaying and murder of Mark Hasse are all connected.
Investigators, law enforcement and elected officials are all on high alert. Tuesday afternoon a CBS 11 crew watched as the Texas Rangers and Kaufman police searched a red-colored pickup at a local gas station, and interviewed the driver. Ultimately, the person was allowed to leave in the searched vehicle.
CBS 11 has confirmed that police have interviewed a former local official, who may have been angry with McLelland and Hasse. The attorney for that man says his client was tested for gun powder residue after both murders and both times the test results were negative. He does not believe that his client is a suspect in any of the deaths and that others were also tested for gun residue after the killings.
Kaufman’s mayor says the three murders have attracted the national media and an unwanted spotlight.
“It’s terrible for our city for our county. I hate it for the families and unfortunately, it gives people a bad impression that we might have a high crime rate here, which we do not,” says Kaufman Mayor William Fortner.
Governor Rick Perry will speak at Thursday’s memorial service for the McLellands at the Sunnyvale First Baptist Church.
CBS-11 has learned the reward money being offered for information leading to arrests and indictments in the murders will be increased by $100,000, bringing the grand total of reward money to $200,000.
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