ROCKWALL (CBSDFW.COM) – Eric Williams, the former Justice of the Peace who’s standing trial for the murders that shook Kaufman County residents to their core, stood up and told the judge Wednesday that he would not take the witness stand in his own defense.READ MORE: Gov. Abbott Attends State Capitol Menorah Lighting Ceremony In Austin
Williams’ lead attorney, Matthew Seymour, rested without putting a single witness on the stand.
Prosecutors wrapped up three days of testimony that have tied Williams to the murders of Kaufman County DA Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia in their home early Saturday morning on Easter weekend in 2013.
Williams is not being tried yet for the murder of McLelland’s top assistant DA Mark Hasse January 31, 2013.
Prosecutors and the defense will hold final arguments first thing Thursday morning.
On Wednesday, prosecutors presented their final piece of evidence to the jury: A TV interview Williams did after he’s accused of gunning down the McLellands.
During the interview shown to the jury, Williams said, “I’ve cooperated with law enforcement and I certainly wish them the best in bringing justice for this incredibly egregious act.”
Earlier, prosecutors showed jurors surveillance video recorded about half an hour before the couple were killed.
The video shows Williams’ pick-up truck arriving at his shed at the Gibsons’ storage facility in Seagoville at 6 a.m. on Saturday, March 30, and then his white Crown Victoria leaving right after.
Video from other businesses shows Williams’ Crown Vic driving closer to the McLelland’s home.
Prosecutors say Williams killed the McLellands at 6:40 a.m. and used the Crown Vic as the getaway vehicle.
Around 7 a.m., surveillance video shows the Crown Vic returning to the storage facility in Seagoville.
Prosecutors showed jurors Williams’ fingerprints were on the Crown Vic, and on an assault rifle that has similar cartridges found at the McLellands’ home.
While investigators didn’t recover the weapon Williams is accused of using to kill the McLellands, James Jeffress, a DPS ballistics expert testified Tuesday, they did find an unfired bullet inside Williams’ storage unit that came from the same gun as the bullets investigators found inside the couple’s home.READ MORE: 2021-22 Bowl Game Season Schedule Finalized
Barry Sorrels, a defense attorney whose tried death penalty cases, is observing the trial in the courtroom. He says, “The forensics evidence has been overwhelming, linking Eric Williams to Cynthia McLelland, the McLellands murders. The state has been methodical.”
Thomas White, a forensic chemist with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), testified Wednesday that Williams still had gun residue on his hands at 10:30pm on the night of the murders – 16 hours after he’s accused of murdering the McLellands.
Investigators found Cynthia McLelland’s body had eight bullet wounds, while Mike McLelland’s body had 16 bullet wounds.
A state trooper who’s on the DPS dive team, Steven Tippitt, testified he found Williams’ cell phone at the bottom of Lake Tawakoni near Highway 276 on March 5th of this year. He said the water in the lake is murky, has zero visibility, and compared it to “chocolate milk.”
While Williams didn’t take the witness stand on his own behalf, one of the lasting impressions jurors had is Williams’ TV interview in which he addressed the McLellands’ relatives. “I want to say my deepest condolences go out to the McLelland family and all the people at the courthouse, most of which I know.”
After final arguments, the case will go to the jury.
If Eric Williams is convicted, his estranged wife Kim is expected to testify against him during the punishment phase of the trial. Kim Williams is also charged in the three murders. But prosecutors haven’t set a date for her trial and haven’t said whether she will face the death penalty like Eric Williams does.
Several months ago in open court, prosecutor Bill Wirskye told the judge that they have not offered Kim Williams a deal of any kind.
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