New Kaufman DA: 'I can do this.' - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

New Kaufman DA: 'I can do this.'


On Thursday, Governor Perry's choice for next district attorney of Kaufman County spoke out for the first time since being appointed to the position by the governor Wednesday afternoon.

Erleigh Norville Wiley of Forney is a judge of the Kaufman County Court at Law and an adjunct professor at the University of North Texas.

Judge Wiley smiled at county employees as she walked out to meet the media, just one day after being appointed the next district attorney of Kaufman County by Governor Perry.

"Our community has been shocked and devastated by the horrific murders of Mark Hasse and Mike and Cynthia McLelland," she said. "I am greatly appreciative of the governor for his continued concern and assistance in helping bring justice to those responsible."

Judge Wiley said she and the other county judges and elected officials met with Governor Perry last week, but she went through the same application process as other candidates and didn't know she'd been chosen until she was contacted by the governor's appointments office.

"I was honored and I'm glad to step in and do it," Wiley said. "I can do this."

Wiley paused only once during prepared remarks to the press, when remembering her colleague Mike McLelland and paying tribute to the staff he put together.

"After all the things that has happened to their office, they're rock solid," Wiley said. "His passion for justice will be a continued inspiration for all of us as we move forward."

Wiley said she met with the district attorney's office Thursday morning, and that safety is definitely a concern, not just for her, but for the district attorney's office employees and the investigators who continue the search for those responsible for the murders of Mike and Cynthia McLelland and Mark Hasse.

"Well, there is danger," she said. "But I mean, we're all in danger here in Kaufman County, because until we figure out who's done these horrible things to the - to Mike and Cynthia and Mark - I mean, we're still all at danger. So I don't know if I'm stepping in any more danger than I already was in."

Wiley said she had just one message for the district attorney's office when she met with them Thursday morning.

"We're going to be the best district attorney's office this size in the state of Texas, so hold on, let's get going," she said.

Judge Wiley's appointment won't be official until she's confirmed by the Texas Senate. That could happen as early as next Wednesday.

Judge Wiley said the Kaufman County commissioner's court will begin work soon to find her replacement.

Sheriff's officials said Thursday they are continuing to receive and follow-up on tips in the investigation of the murders of Mark Hasse and Mike and Cynthia McLelland.

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