HUNT COUNTY, TX (KLTV/WFAA) - Divers recovered a gun from a Texas lake that is believed to be the weapon used to kill Kaufman County Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse in January 2013. WFAA in Dallas is reporting that the gun believed to be the murder weapon, along with a second gun and a black mask, were recovered on March 5 from Lake Tawakoni in Wills Point, TX by divers with the Texas Department of Public Safety. The guns were found along the Highway 276 bridge in Hunt County, about 40 miles northeast of Kaufman, where the slaying occurred.
The discovery of the suspected murder weapon is will likely be a key piece of evidence in the prosecution of former Kaufman County Justice of the Peace Eric Williams
Purchase records show that the second gun is linked to Williams' wife, Kim.
Eric and Kim Williams are accused in the slaying of Hasse in January 2013 after he was shot and killed by a masked man as he walked to work at the Kaufman County courthouse.
Then in March, District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia were found murdered in their Forney home on March 30, two months after Hasse was gunned down. The Williams are also accused of murder in the McLelland's murder as well.
Eric Williams will face the death penalty if convicted of the capital murder charge he faces. Prosecutors have not indicated whether or not they will seek the death penalty against Kim Williams.
In March 2012, Eric Williams was prosecuted by the Kaufman County district attorney's office for stealing equipment from Kaufman County. He was convicted and was removed from office. After that case, Hasse and Mike McLelland began carrying handguns because they believed Eric Williams was a threat to their safety.
Authorities said in arrest affidavits and in a Thursday press conference that they believe Williams' legal problems with the county may have led the couple to commit the crime.
Eric Williams' arrest affidavit says that in searching his home and his in-law's home on April 12, investigators found numerous weapons, including rifles and revolvers that matched the calibers believed to kill the McLellands and Mark Hasse.
According to the arrest affidavit, Hasse's autopsy results revealed he was shot multiple times, "with what appeared to be a weapon capable of firing a .38 or .357 caliber cartridge and that the weapon used was possibly a Smith and Wesson or Ruger style weapon." Authorities recovered two .357 caliber handguns from Eric Williams' in-laws' home on April 12.
The arrest affidavit also reveals the McLellands were both shot multiple times, and that evidence at the scene suggested they were killed by "a weapon capable of firing a .223 caliber cartridge." Authorities recovered "come component parts of weapons consistent with an AR-style weapon, capable of firing .223 caliber ammunition like that used in the McLelland murders" during their search of Eric Williams' home on April 12.
A jury selection process expected to take months began last Friday in Rockwall County for the Williams' trials.
Dallas County District Judge Mike Snipes granted a change of venue request in January, moving the trial from Kaufman to Rockwall County after reviewing a request by Williams’ defense team. Snipes is scheduled to preside over the trial this fall. A Kaufman County judge recused himself from presiding over the trial.
The trial of Eric Williams is set to begin in October. He is currently being held in the Kaufman County Jail on $23 million bond.
Tuesday, August 19 2014 4:10 PM EDT2014-08-19 20:10:07 GMT
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