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Penalty Phase Starts For Texan Who Murdered Prosecutor's Wife

Published by Business Insider on Mon, 08 Dec 2014

By Lisa Maria GarzaDALLAS (Reuters) - A Texas jury that convicted a former Texas justice of the peace of murdering a prosecutor's wife heard arguments on Monday in the penalty phase, where it could sentence him to death.Eric Williams, 47, was found guilty last week of capital murder in the killing of Cynthia McLelland in 2013. Williams has also been charged with the shooting deaths of District Attorney Mike McLelland and Kaufman County Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse in what prosecutors say was a revenge plot.Williams hatched the plot to get back at Mike McLelland and Hasse, who obtained a theft conviction that cost Williams his job and law license, prosecutors said.Prosecutors, who are seeking the death penalty, have indicated they could bring Williams to trial again for the other two deaths, depending on what happens in the current case.The McLellands were shot dead inside their home on March 30, 2013.In their opening statement, prosecutors told the jury in the Dallas suburb of Rockwall they will hear evidence about the murder of Hasse, who was gunned down outside the Kaufman County Courthouse on Jan. 31, 2013.Williams, dressed as a "masked assassin," walked toward Hasse and opened fire, continuing to shoot him after he collapsed to the ground, prosecutor Bill Wirskye said.Prosecutors said they will present a dashcam video from the patrol car of a police officer that shows the Hasse murder, and jurors will hear from witnesses who saw the shooting and attempted to save Hasse's life after the gunman fled.Lawyers for Williams said they may make opening statements later in the proceedings.Williams' wife, Kim, is also charged with capital murder and will be tried separately. No date has been set for her trial.(Reporting by Lisa Maria Garza; Editing by Jon Herskovitz and Eric Beech)Join the conversation about this story
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