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ROCKWALL (CBSDFW.COM) – After spending Tuesday night in sequester, jurors in the Eric Williams murder trial sentenced the convicted killer to death on Wednesday morning. Williams showed no emotion when the death sentence was read.
The same jury had already found Williams guilty of killing Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and wife Cynthia McLelland. Williams is also charged with the murder of Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse.
During the penalty phase of this high-profile murder trial, the woman who has been charged as a co-conspirator in the three murders testified. Kim Williams, the estranged wife of Eric Williams, took the witness stand against her husband on Tuesday morning. She arrived in the courtroom dressed in a striped jail uniform.
Kim Williams admitted that she was a willing participant in the murders, but Eric Williams was the one who pulled the trigger, she said. Kim Williams went on to give some jarring details about how the murders were planned and executed. She said that they were fueled by revenge.
Eric Williams is a former justice of the peace who lost his job after McLelland and Hasse worked to convict him of theft. He has yet to be tried in Hasse’s murder.READ MORE: Rangers Stop Lynn, Beat AL Central-Leading White Sox 2-1
The convicted killer’s wife explained that there were plans to kill others, too. That “hit list” included Erleigh Wiley, who was named the new Kaufman County district attorney after McLelland’s death.
Kim Williams told the jury that her husband got excited about committing the gruesome killings, though she wondered why McLelland’s wife had to die. “He described it as collateral damage,” Kim Williams said.
Jurors announced their decision on Wednesday after less than four hours of deliberations, opting to give Eric Williams the death penalty. Judge Mike Snipes compared Williams to Charles Manson and other infamous serial killers, and told citizens of Kaufman County, “You have no need to be scared anymore.”
Family members of the victims have been in the courtroom every day since the trial started, and they finally saw justice for their loved ones. “I’m glad that they made the decision they did. I do believe he is a danger to society. I do believe he is a danger still to this day,” said Christina Foreman, Cynthia McLelland’s daughter.
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