Both sides rest in Texas prosecutor-killing trial

AP News
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Posted: Dec 03, 2014 5:00 PM

ROCKWALL, Texas (AP) — Closing arguments are scheduled in the capital murder trial of a former justice of the peace accused of killing a North Texas district attorney and his wife.

The prosecution rested Wednesday after calling witnesses over three days in the trial of Eric Williams. The defense declined to call any witnesses before resting. Closing arguments are set for Thursday in the case. If convicted, Williams could be sentenced to death.

Earlier Wednesday, the jury heard testimony that Williams sent anonymous emails to law enforcement claiming credit for the 2013 killings of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, at their home. He's also accused of killing another Kaufman County prosecutor, Mark Hasse, two months earlier but is not being tried in that death.

Prosecutors have argued Williams used cloaking software to mask the origins of the emails to a Crime Stoppers tip line. A computer examiner with an FBI task force testified Wednesday the emails were traced to the 47-year-old Williams.

Prosecutors have said Williams sought revenge for being convicted in 2012 of stealing county equipment, resulting in the loss of his law license and judicial job. Defense attorneys have declined to comment on the charges against Williams

The prosecution presented experts and computer forensic results Wednesday arguing that in the months before the McLelland killings, Williams had conducted Internet searches on ways to send anonymous messages without being detected.

David Scott Hunt, who described himself as a Williams acquaintance, testified a day earlier that Williams asked him to lunch in early 2013, complained of money problems and sought help in getting rid of rifle parts. Hunt said he told Williams not to do anything stupid.

Prosecutor Bill Wirskye has told jurors that items found in a storage shed used by Williams pointed to him as the gunman. Wirskye also said 20 rounds were fired inside the McLellands' home in less than two minutes.

Wirskye filed court documents in September alleging that Williams intended to target other law enforcement officials.