ROCKWALL (CBSDFW.COM) – Prosecutor Bill Wirskye stated that forensics experts will take the witness stand on Tuesday in the second day of the Eric Williams murder trial.READ MORE: Basketball Hall Of Famer's Shop With A Cop Program Helps Build Trust Between Police And Kids
The murders of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland, his wife Cynthia, and his top assistant Mark Hasse in 2013 rocked the county and much of North Texas.
During the trial, that began in neighboring Rockwall County on Monday, Wirksye told jurors, “The amount of evidence in this case is staggering.”
In his opening statements, Wirskye quickly set the scene for jurors. He took them back to that early Saturday morning in March 2013, when Williams, a former Justice of the Peace, is accused of killing the McLellands in their home.
Wirskye told jurors, “He begins to execute his plan to execute one of his prosecutors. He comes in with an AR-15 and cuts down a defenseless Cynthia McLelland in a blizzard of bullets.” She was shot eight times.
Then, Wirskye said that Williams took aim at the district attorney. “He pulls the trigger repeatedly and hits McLelland over and over. Finally, the prosecutor falls. He stands over him repeatedly pulling the trigger.” The district attorney was shot 16 times.
The prosecutor said that the murders were out of revenge after McLelland and Hasse successfully prosecuted Williams for stealing county equipment. Williams is accused of murdering Hasse in January 2013.
Wirskye said that Williams first lied to prosecutors about killing all three people, but then later admitted to it. “You will hear a confession, a confession this man made to the murders,” Wirskye added. “He sent an email to law enforcement taking credit for the murders, thinking he’d remain anonymous, thinking law enforcement would never figure it out.”
Charles Tomlinson, a Dallas police officer and the son of the McLellands’ best friends, told jurors that he and his mom discovered the couple’s bodies. “She just fell to her knees and started crying, and then she pointed and said there’s shell casings right under your feet.”READ MORE: Hundreds Come Out To Honor Fallen Mesquite Officer In Prayer Vigil
Matthew Seymour, the attorney for Williams, did not give an opening statement.
Barry Sorrels, a defense attorney who has tried death penalty cases in the past and who is observing this trial, explained the defense’s tactic. “They don’t have a defense,” he said. “And so they waived the opening statement and this probably means their best hope is going to be at punishment, if he gets convicted of capital murder, in trying to talk the jury into a life sentence rather than a death sentence.”
One of the main unanswered questions so far is whether or not Eric Williams’ ex-wife, Kim, will testify against him. She is also charged with the three murders. Several months ago, in open court, Wirskye told Judge Mike Snipes that no plea deal has been offered to Kim Williams. But, Sorrels explained, he believes that, if she does testify against Eric Williams, she may be given a more lenient sentence.
Unlike Mr. Williams, prosecutors have not said whether or not they will seek the death penalty in her criminal case.
Sorrels said that Kim Williams has already helped investigators in the case against her ex-husband.
Follow Jack Fink On Twitter For Trial Updates: @cbs11jack
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