Former Justice of the Peace Eric Williams Now Charged with Capital Murder in Kaufman County Slayings

Two days ago, few people foresaw that Kim Williams, the ailing wife of a former Kaufman County official, would be arrested and charged with capital murder. But everyone's been expecting this: law enforcement officials announced today that former Justice of the Peace Eric Williams has been charged with capital murder. He's being held in the Kaufman County jail on a $23 million bond.

"Eric Williams has always been on the radar," Kaufman County Sheriff David Byrnes announced at a press conference this afternoon, flanked by Texas Rangers and the FBI. "We thought of him immediately after [assistant District Attorney] Mark Hasse's death and also on the night of the McLelland shooting."

More than 60 investigators are continuing to gather evidence to piece together the whole story, but officials are confident they have the right people.

"By and large there is no more threat or danger today as there was six months ago," Byrnes said, adding a bit later that "the air's a little lighter."

The turning point in the investigation seems to have been the discovery of the Williams' Seagoville storage shed over the weekend, which contained an arsenal of weapons and a Ford Crown Victoria that had been spotted near the murders.

Officials offered few additional details about the killings or the motives behind them, pointing reporters to Williams' arrest affidavit. Byrnes said only that Kim Williams was the getaway driver when her husband allegedly shot Hasse on his way into the courthouse on January 31 and was a passenger when he allegedly killed DA Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia last month.

Williams has continued to proclaim his innocence but has said little else. When I saw him, he didn't appear to be upset or stressed or anything," Byrnes said. He certainly hasn't answered the question of why someone would murder three innocent people in cold blood.

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