A Texas woman, the wife of a local justice of the peace, has confessed to being involved in a high-profile series of shootings in Kaufman County—shootings that were initially linked to members of the Aryan Brotherhood.
Kim Williams, 46, confessed to Texas police about the role she and her husband allegedly played in the murder of local district attorney Mike McLelland, his wife Cynthia, and another prosecutor, Mike Hasse.
“Kim Williams described in detail her role along with that of her husband, Eric Williams, whom she reported to have shot to death Mark Hasse on January 31, 2013, and Michael and Cynthia McLelland on March 30, 2013,” according to a newly released arrest warrant.
The 5’3” inch blond was charged with capital murder for her part in the deaths, said Lt. Justin Lewis, at an early afternoon press conference outside the Kaufman County Sheriff’s station. She was arrested early Wednesday morning and is being held in the Kaufman County Jail on $10,000,000 bond. Police suspect she drove the getaway car in the Hasse case.
The arrest of Williams is the latest twist in the continuing crime saga that began on January 31 with the early morning execution-style slaying of Hasse. Hasse was shot multiple times as he walked from an employee parking area to the Kaufman county courthouse. Two months later, McLelland and his wife were shot to death on March 30 in their quaint home in Forney, Texas. Neighbors found their bodies and alerted police. McLelland had been shot multiple times with an assault rifle. His wife was allegedly shot with a handgun in the entranceway of their home.
At first, suspicion seemed to be pointed towards members of the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang; several of them were indicted in November for a variety of charges including racketeering and murder, and McLelland was part of a multi-agency task force that went after the group. In another apparent connection, Hasse was gunned down shortly after prosecutors were warned by law enforcement of an alleged revenge plot by members of the gang. McLelland told reporters that Hasse could have been killed because of their work in taking down key members of the gang. "We put some real dents in the Aryan Brotherhood around here in the past year," he told the Associated Press shortly before his murder.
"I hope that the people that did this are watching, because we're very confident that we're going to find you," McLelland said at a news conference following Hasse’s death. "We're going to pull you out of whatever hole you're in, we're going to bring you back and let the people of Kaufman County prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law."
No concrete links to the Aryan Brotherhood were ever established. And in fact Kim Williams’s husband Eric, also 46, emerged as a prime suspect in the murders just hours after the killings of McLelland and his wife.
In a statement he sent to his attorney, David Sergi, Williams, at the time, said he had no ill feelings about being the focus of a police investigation. “If I was in their shoes, I’d do the same thing,” he said. “They need to do a thorough process of elimination and I have no hard feelings toward the prosecution in my trial, or of being asked about the recent slayings. I’ve cooperated fully with law enforcement and wish them the best in bringing the perpetrator of the killings to justice.”
Mr. Williams, a former Kaufman County justice of the peace, has been in jail since Saturday on a $3 million bond after he was accused of sending a threatening anonymous email to law enforcement officers. In the email, which was allegedly sent from his home computer, he told officials that another attack was imminent if his demands were not met.
According to the newly released arrest warrant, Williams’s vendetta dates back to March 2012 when he, as a newly appointed justice of the peace, was convicted in a jury trial of burglary and theft after he was caught carrying three Dell computer monitors out of the county Information and Technology Department. Hasse and McLelland prosecuted his case.
Williams was “suspended from his judicial duties after the indictment, removed from his elected office in the judgments of conviction, and remained suspended without pay pending his appeal,” wrote Kaufman County Sheriff’s Department investigator Matt Woodall.
Haas and McLelland “believed that Eric Williams blamed them for his removal from office,” wrote Woodall. Woodall wrote that Haas and McLelland carried handguns after the jury trial because they believed Williams “to be a threat to their personal safety.”
After his sentencing, Williams denied that he stole the computers and that his arrest was a “tragic misunderstanding.” Williams claimed that he had taken the computers only in order so he could test a video system on them. His wife, who took the stand during his sentencing, testified that Williams was a loving and attentive husband.
The New York Times reported that one of the turning points in the investigation came last Saturday night when investigators discovered that Wiliams, a former officer in the Texas Guard, kept a white Ford Crown Victoria, and numerous weapons including 20 guns and assault rifles. The Crown Victoria looked like the same vehicle witnesses had described leaving the scene of Hasse’s murder on January 31.
According to state records, Kim Williams, who has been married to her husband for 15 years, was a director of a Texas business called Honey Nuggets, Inc. She was also listed as a director of Penny Enterprises, and Unicorn Financial Corp. In 2003, she is listed as a non-certified technician in radiology.
However, in court papers, Williams described his petite wife as being on disability.
“I imagine the Aryan brotherhood is breathing a sigh of relief,” says former Texas prison warden Terry Pelz. “I don’t know if the Aryan Brotherhood was used as a diversion. I wonder if they tried to flush Williams out. I think the general reaction was that it was the Aryan Brotherhood and we have to blame somebody.
Pelz added jokingly, "I wonder if we will see an apology.”