It's impossible to overstate the heinousness of the crimes Eric Lyle Williams is accused of.
Prosecutors say the 45-year-old carried out a cold-blooded hit on Kaufman County Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse as he walked through a courthouse parking lot one morning last January. Two months later, on the day before Easter, he allegedly murdered District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, leaving their bullet-riddled bodies on the floor of their home.
But that's not what prompted the State Bar of Texas to yank Williams' law license last month. According to a just-released list of the organization's disciplinary actions, the former Kaufman County justice of the peace was disbarred February 3 for stealing a couple of computer monitors.
Multiple counts of capital murder would, of course, provide equally legitimate grounds to strip Williams of his ability to practice law, but he hasn't been convicted, and his trial is still months off. On the computer-monitor theft, on the other hand, he's already been found guilty on one count of burglary and one of theft by a public servant.
The verdict was handed down in April 2012, but the State Bar held off on disbarment pending Williams' ill-fated appeal.
It's fitting, in a way, that the fate of Williams' law license would rest on his comparatively minor theft case since it's the same case investigators speculate motivated Williams to seek revenge on Hasse and the McLellands.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.