Texas wife of ex-judge charged with capital murder

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Kim Williams, wife of former Kaufman County justice of the peace Eric Williams in Kaufman County Sheriff's Office booking photo (AP Photo)

Kim Williams, wife of former Kaufman County justice of the peace Eric Williams in Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office booking photo (AP Photo)

KAUFMAN, Texas (AP) — The wife of a former judge was charged Wednesday with capital murder in connection with the slayings of a North Texas district attorney, his wife and an assistant prosecutor, a law enforcement official said.

The overnight arrest of Kim Lene Williams is the latest twist in an investigation that has also focused on her husband, who was prosecuted for theft by the two slain officials. Investigators initially considered the possible involvement of a Texas prison-based white supremacist gang.

Jail records did not yet list a charge, but a law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press that Williams was arrested and charged with capital murder. The official said Williams was being held on a $10 million bond at Kaufman County Jail.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the ongoing investigation into the deaths of Kaufman County Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse in January and District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife last month.

The official did not describe the evidence against Williams.

McLelland and Hasse prosecuted Williams’ husband, Eric Lyle Williams, last year in the theft of three computers from an office building. A jury found Williams guilty and he was stripped of his law license and lost his elected position as justice of the peace.

Eric Williams was arrested Saturday and charged with making terroristic threats. The law enforcement official has said authorities were trying to build a case against Eric Williams in the prosecutors’ slayings while he remains jailed on a $3 million bond.

A probable cause affidavit says the ex-judge sent an email one day after the McLellands’ bodies were discovered March 30 implying there would be another attack if authorities didn’t respond to various demands. The email was sent from his personal computer.

Jail records did not list an attorney for his Kim Williams. A message left with her husband’s attorney was not immediately returned Wednesday morning.

The official said ballistics experts were testing at least 20 weapons found in a storage locker under Eric Williams’ name at a facility near Dallas. A Ford Crown Victoria similar to one recorded in the McLellands’ neighborhood around the time the couple was killed was parked at the storage facility, the official said.

Williams has said that after the McLellands’ deaths and after Hasse was gunned down Jan. 31 near the county courthouse, he submitted to gunshot residue tests and turned over his cellphone.

Investigators acknowledged in the weeks following Hasse’s death that they were looking into whether a white supremacist prison gang known as the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas was responsible. The gang had been targeted by a task force that included McLelland’s office, and Texas authorities had warned law enforcement agencies across the state the gang might be planning retaliation attacks.

Two other people have been arrested for making terroristic threats during the investigation into the slayings, but authorities said they had no connection to the deaths.

Williams lost his position as justice of the peace and received two years of probation after he was convicted in the theft case prosecuted by McLelland and Hasse.

During closing arguments, the prosecutors presented testimony indicating that Williams had made death threats against a former girlfriend and a local attorney.

“The good old boy network is gone,” McLelland said at the time.

In the sentencing phase, Kim Williams testified in her husband’s defense. She said she suffers from several illnesses, including rheumatoid arthritis and chronic fatigue syndrome. She said her husband was her sole caregiver as well as the caregiver for her two ailing parents.

“Eric is a loving man,” she testified. “He wouldn’t do anything to hurt anybody. I’m standing by him 100 percent.”

Williams has appealed the verdict, and on March 29 — a day before the McLellands’ bodies were found — a state appeals court in Dallas agreed to hear oral arguments in the case.

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