ROCKWALL (CBSDFW.COM) – Eric Williams and his lawyers were in court on Friday morning to ask for more time before his capital murder trial begins next month, but their attempt was unsuccessful. Williams is the man accused of killing Kaufman County top prosecutor Mark Hasse, Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland, and McLelland’s wife, Cynthia.
Williams entered the Rockwall County courtroom wearing and an orange jumpsuit and shackles. The defense team cited the pile of evidence against their client, a former Kaufman County official who is accused of killing Hasse and the McLellands last year after he was convicted of stealing county computers.
“We have not had the opportunity to fully inventory or receive the avalanche of physical evidence, data and discovery in this case,” argued defense attorney Matthew Seymor.
The defense team also blamed harsh winter conditions with slowing down their effort to interview witnesses.
Special prosecutors assigned to make the state’s case against Williams did not argue against the delay and agreed that the volume of documents is the largest that they have ever seen.
But the judge did not budge, keeping the scheduled March 28 date to begin questioning prospective jurors.
“There are other concerns as well,” said presiding Judge Mike Snipes. “The defendant’s right to a speedy trial, the public’s right to closure of this case and finality.”
Judge Snipes cited other cases that are moving along faster including the Boston Marathon bombing. He encouraged the defense to seek help from other lawyers who have volunteered their time.
The 46-year-old suspect’s wardrobe was also a talking point during Friday morning’s hearing, which lasted about 30 minutes. Attorneys for Williams were incensed that the defendant was brought into the courtroom in jail clothing. They had a court order requiring that he be able to wear a suit and go uncuffed. The Kaufman County sheriff plans to investigate what happened.
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