ROCKWALL, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – More than two decades before he killed an East Texas district attorney and his wife, former JP Eric Williams threatened an ex-girlfriend with a gun, jurors were told today in Williams’s capital murder trial.READ MORE: Mesquite Officer Dies After Shooting Outside Grocery Store
Williams, who is facing possible death after his capital murder conviction in the deaths of Kaufman County DA Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia, also previously threatened to kill a lawyer and his family, and burn the lawyer’s house down, according to testimony.
Testifying during the punishment phase of the trial, Janice Gray said she first met Williams in the early 1990s at a conference in Huntsville, when both worked as court coordinators.
Seeming nervous as Williams looked at her from the defense table, Gray said they had a brief relationship, then she broke it off.
The next year, at the same conference, Gray said she turned down Williams’ offer to go out.
Later that day, Gray told the jury, Williams approached her again at a club, and asked that she step away from her friends.
She said that when she did, “he said, ‘Well, I have a gun …and if you walk away, I’ll use it. I have nothing to lose.'”
It was the second time Gray has stepped into a courtroom to recall that confrontation.
The first was in 2012 when District Attorney McLelland and his chief prosecutor, Mark Hasse, called her to the witness stand after they had prosecuted Williams for burglary and theft.
Williams, a former lawyer and justice of the peace, is now convicted of retaliating by killing the DA and his wife on Easter weekend 2013. He is also accused of killing Hasse two months earlier, out of revenge for the earlier convictions.READ MORE: Officials React To Mesquite Officer Killed On Duty
In the murder trial, Gray said that when she saw Williams on TV in connection with the murders, she recognized that “look” — the same look on Williams’ face that night in Huntsville — and remembered thinking “he did it.”
In their efforts to convince the jury that Williams deserves the death penalty, prosecutors also called Kaufman attorney Dennis Jones to the stand to recall what he heard Williams say in 2010, during a fit of rage about another lawyer.
“I heard him say, ‘I’m just going to kill him, his wife, his kids. I’m going to burn his house down,'” Jones told the jury.
Under cross examination, Jones acknowledged that he knew of no attempts by Williams to carry out the threats.
Soon after the testimony, prosecutors rested their case, with lead defense attorney Matthew Seymour preparing to address the jury on why Williams should be spared his life.
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