Kaufman County DA Murder Trial Starts Today

The trial of Eric Williams, the former justice of the peace accused of killing the Kaufman County district attorney, the district attorney's wife and one of the district attorney's top assistants started Monday morning.

The trial is being held at the Rockwall County Courthouse, the venue to which it was assigned in January in order to give Williams the fairest trial possible.

Prosecutors believe that Williams, upset after being removed from his justice of the peace post for stealing county computer equipment, plotted to kill Mike McLelland, the district attorney, Cynthia McLelland and Mark Hasse, with help from Williams' then wife, Kim Williams.

So far Monday, jurors have been questioned as to whether they saw an episode of Criminal Minds that mentioned the killings -- all jurors said they hadn't -- and special prosecutor Bill Wirskye's opening statement.

Wirskye apologized to jurors that they would have to see the carnage wreaked upon the McLellands and Hasses and accused Williams of extensively planning and practicing for the killings. Wirskye also described a "treasure trove" of evidence discovered in a storage unit rented to Williams. Matthew Seymour, Williams attorney, declined to make an opening statement.

Cameras have been allowed in the courtroom for the duration of the trial. You can watch WFAA's feed here.

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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young

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