KAUFMAN, Texas (AP) — A North Texas woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to murder and was sentenced to 40 years in prison after earlier testifying that she helped her husband gun down a district attorney, his wife and a top assistant in a revenge plot.
Kim Williams appeared in court two weeks after her husband, Eric Williams, was sentenced to death for one of the three killings.
She testified during Eric Williams' sentencing hearing that she was a "willing participant," driving the getaway car after the January 2013 shooting of prosecutor Mark Hasse and helping hide weapons after the March 2013 shootings of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia.
Investigators have said the couple sought to avenge Eric Williams' 2012 prosecution for stealing county-owned equipment. He was a justice of the peace at the time and the conviction cost him his job and law license.
At her brief court appearance Tuesday, Kim Williams was sentenced immediately after pleading guilty to first-degree murder. She also gave up her right to appeal. She pleaded guilty in the death of Hasse. Her husband, from whom she's now estranged, was convicted Dec. 4 of killing Cynthia McLelland.
Nathan Foreman, Cynthia McLelland's son, thanked Kim Williams in court for testifying and providing prosecutors with information.
"I'm not sure closure is the right word, but it was riveting listening to your testimony," he told her.
"These murders have torn apart my family and Mark Hasse's family," he said. "And I'm sure that it's been equally tough on your family."
J.R. McLelland, the son of Mike McLelland, later told her, "You had too many opportunities to stop it and you didn't do that."
During the trial of Eric Williams, prosecutors presented evidence that he paid a friend to rent a storage unit where he kept more than 30 guns, police tactical gear and the getaway car.
A "masked assassin," whom prosecutors identified as Williams, approached Hasse as he walked to work and the two shoved each other. They said Hasse pleaded and yelled "I'm sorry" before he was repeatedly shot.
Two months later Williams stormed into the McLellands' rural home east of Dallas and shot each more than a dozen times, according to evidence at his trial.
During the punishment phase, Kim Williams testified for more than two hours about her role in the plot.
"His anger was my anger," she said.