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Kaufman prosecutor murder case: Jury selection begins

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A year after Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife , Cynthia, were murdered execution-style in their Forney, Texas home, jury selection began for the man accused of killing them, according to the CBS News affiliate in Dallas recently. Former Justice of the Peace Eric Williams is the man on trial which is being held in Rockwall County, Texas.

The lengthy jury selection process began last Friday as 3,000 Rockwall County residents trekked to the courthouse to fill out paperwork. In a case which grabbed national headlines in 2013, Williams and his wife Kim were arrested less than three weeks after the bodies of the McLellands were discovered in their home.

After a massive investigation including several law enforcement agencies, police came to the conclusion the former JP and is wife were also involved in the January, 2013 murder of Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse. That assassination shocked the world as speculation concerning possible suspects dominated national news media attention until the Williams couple was arrested. It was the first time in Texas history two prosecutors from the same office were murdered.

Jury selection in this case is expected to last until August. The trial is slated to start in October for Eric Williams. His wife Kim will be tried at a later date in a separate trial, according to the Forney newspaper.

Authorities believe Eric Williams and his wife murdered Hasse and the McLellands as part of a revenge plot after Williams was prosecuted for theft and burglary of a building which resulted in Williams' law license being revoked and his removal from office. Kim Williams has filed for divorce.

The state is seeking the death penalty for Eric, but has not yet indicated whether the same punishment will be sought for his estranged wife.

The tragic chain of events began in March of 2006 when Eric Williams wrote a letter to Mike McLelland questioning his intergrity as McLelland ran for district attorney in Kaufman County. McLelland lost a primary runoff to eventual district attorney Rick Harrison, according to the Dallas Morning News newspaper.

However, on Jan. 1, 2011, McLelland was sworn into office after winning his second attempt at running for DA. Ironically, Williams was also sworn in after winning election to the justice of the peace position in Kaufman County.

In April of 2012 Williams was sentenced to probation for burglary and theft for taking three county computer monitors. McLelland and Hasse prosecuted the case which evidently would cost them their lives.

On Jan. 31, 2013, Hasse was gunned down in the early morning hours as he exited his vehicle and walked to his office for work. The unidentified shooter escaped in a car.

The tragedy increased on March 30, 2013 when a gunman shot dead McLelland and his wife Cynthia. They were believed to have been executed with an assault-style weapon.

The next major event will occur Oct. 20 when opening statements are scheduled to begin in this history-making case.

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