ROCKWALL COUNTY (CBS 11 NEWS) – Prosecutors and defense attorneys began interviewing the first three potential jurors in the upcoming Eric Williams murder trial, which made national headlines last year.
Eric Williams, the former Kaufman County Justice of the Peace, faces the death penalty if convicted of killing District Attorney Mike McLelland, wife Cynthia, and Assistant District Attoryney Mark Hasse.
While the trial will be held in neighboring Rockwall County, people in Kaufman are still not happy a judge moved the case out of their hometown.
At the “It’s Better Than Good Southern Kitchen” in the Kaufman town square, owner Sandy Miller insists residents could have given Williams a fair trial.
Miller says, “It happened here in our town, it happened to our people and we feel it should have been done here.” Brandi Hudlow agrees. “It’s all over Facebook, people talking, you know at Starbucks.”
But at the “Genuine Jake Life is Good” store in the square surrounding the old Rockwall County courthouse, owner Larry Hullett says he can understand why they moved the trial there. “Of course you’re going to have a bigger pool to pull from in Rockwall. I don’t think they’ll have a problem finding 12 people who can judge accurately without bias.”
Peter Schulte, a defense attorney in Dallas says both sides have to be careful when picking a jury.
“There’s a lot of jurors out there that want there to bbe absolutely no doubt before they give the death penalty vs. Some jurors who say well, if they prove their case, I’ll approve it.”
Each potential juror can be interviewed for up to two hours. It may take up to six weeks to seat a jury.”
The trial is scheduled to begin in Rockwall December 1.
Back in Kaufman, time may have passed by, but the emotions haven’t yet eased.
Sandy Miller says, “We don’t want this to define Kaufman, Texas. It’s a horrible tragedy, but we’re more than that.” She became emotional when she said, “Small town life is the best life you can have because everybody knows everybody.”
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