One step in the legal saga of convicted killer, Eric Williams, concluded Wednesday, November 1, 2017, when the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the State’s Highest Court for criminal cases, unanimously upheld the trial court’s guilty verdict and death sentence.
Williams, former Kaufman County Justice of the Peace, was convicted in the death of Cynthia McLelland, the wife of former Kaufman County District Attorney, Mike McLelland, who was also killed in the couple’s Forney, Texas home on March 30, 2013.
Williams was charged, but not tried, for the deaths of Mike McLelland and Mark Hasse, who was fatally shot approximately two months earlier near the Kaufman County courthouse.
According to the Prosecution, the McLellands, originally from Wortham, and Hasse, were gunned down by Williams in retaliation for an earlier conviction for theft.
Williams was charged with the theft of computers when he served as JP in Kaufman County in 2012. He received two years’ probation and loss of his law license in that case, in which McLelland and Hasse served as prosecutors.
Court of Appeals Judge, Michael E. Keasler, issued a 110-page opinion, stating “After reviewing Williams’ 40-points of error, we find them to be without merit. Consequently, we affirm the trial court’s judgment and sentence of death.”
Williams, in his appeal, states prosecutors did not prove either of its capital murder theories, murder in the course of committing a burglary or multiple murders, beyond a reasonable doubt.
Judge Keasler asserts that the State provided sufficient evidence that Williams intentionally or knowingly murdered more than one person during the same transaction pointing to the “severity and number of the McLellands’ injuries left no room for doubt concerning the perpetrator’s intent to kill the couple.”
Williams’ wife, Kim Williams, pled guilty to her role in the killings and played a key witness during his trial. She was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Williams was convicted in December of 2014 and remains on Texas’ Death Row.
His attorneys have received three extensions to examine the voluminous evidence in the case for his writ of habeas corpus for Federal Appeals Court, the next step in the appeals process. The most recent six-month extension ends January 8, 2018.