STORY UPDATED | December 16, 2014 5:50 PM
ROCKWALL (CBS 11 NEWS) – In chilling detail, a woman accused of murder told a hushed courtroom how her husband, in a fit of excitement and joy, meticulously planned and carried out the murders of an East Texas district attorney, his wife and the DA’s top prosecutor.
Eric Williams kept his head down, while relatives of the dead cried, as his wife Kim talked about her husband’s glee after each killing, and how he’d bragged about pumping one more bullet into one of his victims because she continued to moan.
After being led into the courtroom in a striped jail suit and shackles, Kim Williams also told a stunned jury how her husband had planned other murders, including another district attorney and a former judge, who he’d wanted to kidnap, shoot dead, store in the family freezer, then bury in their flowerbed.
But the killings that froze the small town of Kaufman stopped in April 2013 when Eric and Kim Williams were arrested on charges of capital murder in the deaths of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland, his wife Cynthia, and the earlier, execution-style attack on prosecutor Mark Hasse.
Not long after her testimony, the jury began deliberation on whether Eric Williams should be sent to prison for life, or be executed, after being convicted of capital murder in the killing of the McLellands. There was no decision reached after more than 2 1/2 hours and the jury was sequestered for the night. Deliberations will resume Wednesday morning.
On the stand, Kim Williams was asked what her husband’s mood was like on the morning of January 31, 2013, after he’d confronted Hasse as he walked to the county courthouse, heard him plea for his life, “No! No! Please, no!” then shot him multiple times with a high-powered gun.
Her answer was simple: “Happy.”
After that attack, she said, they drove to their home in Kaufman, where she took a Valium and went to bed, while her husband turned on the TV and watched Hasse’s boss, DA Mike McLelland, forcefully vow in a press conference that he would find the killer, no matter what rock he was hiding under.
“He just kind of shook his head,” Kim Williams told the jury.
Asked if her husband had managed a smile as he watched his next victim on TV, she said, “Yes he did …kind of cocky.”
And then the planning began for the execution of the DA, Kim Williams testified, in a steady, never faltering voice.
“He was happy. He was ready. He’d already killed one person. And he was ready to kill Mike McLelland,” she said.
The jury of seven men and five women sat motionless as the state’s star witness talked about how the man she loved, the man she married and believed in, planned out the killings, his anger fueled even greater by pills and beer, because McLelland and Hasse had a year earlier prosecuted him for stealing three computer monitors.
Prosecutors hope Kim Williams’ gripping testimony will convince the jury to send her husband, once a lawyer and justice of the peace until his theft conviction, should be sent to the death chambers after being convicted in the McLelland murders.
Kim Williams, who faces the same charges but has yet to stand trial, could not by law be forced to testify against her husband. But she said she was doing so voluntarily because of the heartache they had caused to the friends and family of the dead.
“They deserve this. And I want to give it to them,” she said.
And Kim Williams did not hesitate in admitting she had lived in a fog of drug addiction, as she worked as a willing accomplice in her husband’s murderous rampage.
“I was so drugged up …and I believed in him. His anger was my anger,” she said.
For their next kill, Kim Williams said, her husband prepared clothes that made him look like a police officer. “He was in a good mood …a very good mood,” she said. “He was modeling for me.”
Their alarm went off at 5:30 a.m. the next morning, March 30, 2013, the day before Easter.
Kim Williams said she fed their puppies, let them out to pee, and then they went to get an old Crown Vic – one that looked like an undercover cop car – to go kill again.
It was still dark, she told the jury, when they arrived at the McLellands’ home in Forney.
“He went up to the front porch and rang the doorbell,” Kim Williams recalled. “A light went on from the corner of the house.”
And then she saw the porch light come on and someone answer the door, later determined to be Cynthia McLelland.
“And then he goes in,” Kim Williams told jurors.
Staying in the getaway car, she said she heard “a lot” of gunfire inside the house, and then her husband ran back to the car.
Why, she said she asked him, did Cynthia McLelland have to die, since his beef was with the DA?
“He described it as collateral damage,” Kim Williams said.
Police and prosecutors have said both Mike and Cynthia McLelland were riddled with bullets, with one of the most cruel wounds being fired at close range to Mrs. McLelland’s head.
What Kim Williams said next supported that evidence ….and sent a collective gasp through the courtroom, hitting hardest with those who knew and loved Cynthia McLelland.
“He told me,” she said, “that he had to shoot her a second time because she was still moaning.”
After killing the McLellands, Kim Williams said, her husband was “happy, joyous,” and wanted to do a cookout at her parents’ home, just down the street from their house in Kaufman.
“We had barbecue steaks. Eric cooked the steaks on the grill,” she said.
Kim Williams also told the jury that her husband found it amusing that, even before he was considered a prime suspect, a large police command post had been set up across the highway from their home to help organize the massive manhunt.
As they drove by, he would pretend to take pictures of the large contingency of local, state and federal police, she said, adding: “He said it would be a really easy thing to just go over there and start shooting.”
“He thought that it was a joke,” Kim Williams said, “He’d make fun of it.”
But Eric Williams wasn’t laughing when his wife told the jury that, before setting his sights on McLelland and Hasse, he had first planned to kill former state district Judge Glen Ashworth, who had given Williams his first job as a court coordinator in Kaufman.
She said her husband thought, mistakenly, that Ashworth had provided investigators with evidence in her husband’s burglary and theft case involving the computer monitors.
To retaliate, Kim Williams told the jury, her husband planned to kidnap Ashworth, shoot him at their house, place his body in their freezer and, at some point, bury him in their yard.
She said he also planned to kill Erleigh Wiley, who succeeded McLelland as DA in Kaufman County, because he felt she had “screwed him out of money” in some child welfare cases he had worked when he was a lawyer and justice of the peace.
At the behest of prosecutors, Kim Williams repeatedly said she was testifying voluntarily against her husband, and had not been offered a plea bargain in exchange for her help.
But, she added, “I’m hoping for some consideration,” when it comes time to sentence her for her role in her husband’s killing spree.
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