ROCKWALL (CBSDFW.COM) – The life of Eric Williams depends on what happens during the punishment phase of his trial, which begins Monday at the Rockwall Coutny Courthouse. The prosecution is pushing for the death penalty against the former justice of the peace.
It took a jury 1 hour and 40 minutes to convict Williams last Thursday of murdering Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia McLelland, on the Saturday of Easter weekend in 2013. His conviction was based off of one of three indictments filed against him. The trial lasted for three days.
The murders, along with that of Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse, rocked Kaufman County early last year. Hasse was gunned down outside of the courthouse and, nearly four months later, the McLellands were shot and killed in their own home.
Lawyers for Williams stated that nothing in the prosecution’s case ties him to the couple’s death, and a murder weapon was never found. Prosecutors, however, argued that a series of emails from a computer owned by Williams showed that he confessed to the killings.
Now, after convicting Williams of the killings, the same jury will consider whether or not Williams should be sentenced to death. His estranged wife, Kim, who is also charged in the murders, is expected to testify against him.
Barry Sorrels, a Dallas attorney who has tried death penalty cases in the past, has been observing this trial. He said that if and when Kim Williams testifies in front of a jury, “Her testimony will be the most dramatic, bone-chilling testimony that’s been elicited in a courtroom in North Texas for decades. It’s going to be a blockbuster. She’s going to bury Eric Williams.”
Prosecutors have not said whether or not Kim Williams will also face the death penalty, and a trial date for her has not been announced. The prosecution had previously told the judge that they have not offered a deal to her, either. But she has cooperated with authorities.
Sorrels said that the Kim Williams testimony will be difficult for Eric Wiliams and his attorneys. “She has admitted her guilt. She was an eyewitness. She was married to the defendant,” Sorrels said. “She knows everything about the case.”
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