Just one person appeared surprised by yesterday's guilty verdict in the capital murder trial of a former justice of the peace accused of gunning down the Kaufman County, Tx., district attorney and his wife — the killer himself, Eric Lyle Williams. The Dallas Morning News says the jury took 90 minutes to convict Williams, 47, of killing Cynthia McLelland, the wife of Kaufman DA Mike McLelland. Williams remains accused of capital murder in connection with the slayings of Mike McLelland and his top assistant, Mark Hasse.
Next week, prosecutors Bill Wirskye and Toby Shook will ask the same jury to send Williams to death row for his crimes. Hasse, 57, was shot in January 2013 as he arrived for work. Mike McLelland, 63, and his 65-year-old wife were killed in their home two months later on Easter weekend. Prosecutors alleged that Williams plotted the slayings as revenge because McLelland and Hasse prosecuted him in 2012 for stealing county computer monitors. Williams lost his elected JP spot, his law license and his livelihood. Defense attorney Matthew Seymour told the jury that his client “did not commit these murders.” Seymour did not call any witnesses during the guilt or innocence phase of the trial, an indication that the true battle will be about whether Williams receives a death sentence or life without parole.