Reporting Stephanie Lucero
KAUFMAN (CBSDFW.COM) - It was a series of crimes that brought national attention to Kaufman County. The district attorney, his wife and a top prosecutor were all murdered over a matter of weeks. And on Friday, the two suspects in the case appeared in court for a preliminary hearing.
This was the first court appearance for Eric Williams and his wife, Kimberly Williams, since the couple was indicted for the Kaufman County murders in late June. Eric Williams arrived dressed in a business suit and was in the room for only about 10 minutes. Kimberly Williams had her hair pulled back in a ponytail and appeared pale.
During the Friday morning hearing, special prosecutors assigned to the case announced that they will be seeking the death penalty for Eric Williams. They had yet to make a final decision on whether or not they would also seek the death penalty for Kimberly Williams.
The couple has been accused of killing assistant district attorney Mark Hasse in downtown Kaufman, a short distance away from the county courthouse. They have also been charged with the murders of Kaufman County district attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, who were gunned down in their home.
Officials said that Kimberly Williams drove the getaway car in both shootings, while Eric Williams was the actual gunman. Prosecutors think that his motive was retaliation. Hasse and McLelland prosecuted Eric Williams — a former Justice of the Peace — for stealing county property last year. A jury convicted Williams and he was then unable to practice law.
During the Friday morning hearing, neither suspect glanced back at the McLelland family seated in the front row. Mike McLelland’s mother occasionally wiped tears from her eyes, but said that she never even saw Eric Williams enter the room. She was sorry that she missed him, she said, adding, “I’d like to shoot him in the knees.”
The judge on Friday morning set jury selection in this case for spring 2014, with the actual trial scheduled for October 2014. An attorney for Eric Williams said that he may ask for a new trial venue.
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