Jury ends 1st day of talks on ex-judge's penalty

AP News
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Posted: Dec 16, 2014 8:07 PM
Jury ends 1st day of talks on ex-judge's penalty

ROCKWALL, Texas (AP) — Jurors began deliberating Tuesday whether to send a former North Texas justice of the peace to death row for killing a North Texas district attorney's wife in a revenge plot.

The Rockwall County jury deliberated for about 2½ hours on punishment for Eric Williams before being sequestered for the night. Jurors are to resume deliberations Wednesday.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty, but jurors could opt for life imprisonment without parole.

Williams was found guilty Dec. 4 in the shooting death of Cynthia McLelland. He is also charged, but has not been tried, in the deaths of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and assistant prosecutor Mark Hasse.

Prosecutors say the deaths were retribution after Hasse and McLelland prosecuted Williams for the theft of county equipment. He lost his job and law license as a result.

The jury began deliberations after hearing Tuesday from Williams' estranged wife, Kim Williams, who also is charged in the slayings. She testified for more than two hours about her role in the plot, saying she was a "willing participant" in her husband's revenge killings.

"His anger was my anger," she said.

Her testimony indicated she drove the getaway car in Hasse's slaying and helped to dispose of the weapons used in the killing of the McLellands at their home east of Dallas.

After killing the McLellands, the couple's mood, she said, was "happy, joyous."

She said Eric Williams had a hit list that included former state District Judge Glen Ashworth and Kaufman County District Attorney Erleigh Norville Wiley.

"He told me if he ever decided to take everybody out, he was going to kill me too and then kill himself," she said.

With Kim Williams' assistance, prosecutors have a gun linked to Hasse's death and a mask believed to have been worn by the gunman.

Williams said she has no deal with prosecutors but is hoping for some lenience when she's tried for the killings.

"I'm hoping for some consideration," she said.