KAUFMAN, Texas (1080 KRLD) – The special prosecutors in three high profile Kaufman County murder cases appear to have landed their biggest witness to date.
Law enforcement sources tell KRLD News that Kim Williams, the estranged wife and capital murder co-defendant of former Kaufman County Justice of the Peace Eric Williams, has been working with police in the case against her husband.
Last month divers found a gun believed to be the murder weapon in the assassination of assistant Kaufman County prosecutor Mark Hasse. The Hasse gun, and a second gun, were found at the bottom of Lake Tawakoni, along the Two Mile Bridge that spans the lake. The sources say Ms. Williams helped lead the divers to the area.
Kim and Eric Williams were arrested a year ago for the Jan. 31, 2013 murder of Hasse and the March 30, 2013 murders of his boss District Attorney Mike McLelland and wife Cynthia. Hasse was murdered a block from the Kaufman County Courthouse. The McLellands were gunned down in their rural Forney home.
A search warrant signed last month by Judge Michael Snipes says the guns were found March 5 by State divers. It further says ballistic tests have linked the gun to the murder of Hasse.
Prior to the discovery there were few physical clues linking Eric Williams to the murder, because there were no spent shell casings at the scene. The gun found in the lake, a Ruger .357, is a revolver that does not expend cartridges. However, even with the weapon police still needed a link between the gun and Williams. The entry of Kim Williams into the equation brings the investigation to a new level.
“If that gun is linked back to the murder of Mr. Hasse, and she, being Mrs. Williams can link Mr. Williams to the gun and the disposing of the gun, then that’s a very important evidentiary fact for the prosecution.” said former prosecutor Dan Hagood. “She’ll be a critical key witness for the prosecution in proving guilt on behalf of Mr. Williams with respect to the murders of the D.A. and Mr. Hasse.”
The evidence in the McLelland murders has been more readily available. Police have found spent high-powered rifle bullet casings at the McLelland home. Sources have said “retractor markings” on those shells matched retractor markings on unspent bullet shells found in a storage locker rented by Eric Williams. That storage locker was also used to store a white sedan similar to one seen leaving the McLelland neighborhood the night of their murders.
Hints that Kim Williams and Eric Williams were not unified surfaced almost immediately.
Prior court papers filed in the case claim Mrs. Williams began giving police details upon her arrest. She claimed she drove a car while Eric Williams acted as the gunman, according to the papers.
Days later, when the two appeared in separate court appearances, prosecutors announced they were seeking the death penalty against Eric Williams. No such mention was made about Mrs. Williams.
In June, Mrs. Williams further distanced herself from her husband when she filed for divorce. That case is still pending.
Over the last week, the jury selection process began for the first of the three capital murder cases against Williams.
Prosecutors have decided the first trial will involve the death of Cynthia McLelland. 3,000 Prospective jurors have been given questionnaires to begin the first round of questioning to whittle down a jury of 12 men and women plus a number of alternate jurors. Individual juror questioning will begin next month. Snipes has told lawyers he wants to have the jury selected by August in advance of the scheduled October trial.
No date for a trial of Mrs. Williams has been set.
Special prosecutor Bill Wirskye insisted there is no plea deal between the State and Mrs. Williams. Wirskye had no further comment.
Eric Williams’ attorney, Matthew Seymour, also declined comment. Seymour has previously filed papers demanding prosecutors “reveal the deal” if Mrs. Williams has cut a plea bargain.
Paul Johnson, the attorney appointed to represent Mrs. Williams had no comment. However, Johnson did not quarrel with the details of Mrs. Williams’ cooperation.
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