San Marcos attorney David Sergi has withdrawn from representing the prime suspect in the slaying of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife who were gunned down in their home March 30.
The shocking killings reverberated nationally and spawned extraordinary theories of white supremacists and Mexican drug gangs pushing back against aggressive prosecution. Now investigators’ focus has reportedly turned to something more familiar: small-town politicians locked in an embittered feud.
Former Kaufman County Justice of the Peace Eric Williams was arrested Saturday and charged with making a terroristic threat. Law enforcement officials told the Dallas Morning News they expect to charge Williams with capital murder in the McLellands’ deaths and the Jan. 31 public assassination of assistant district attorney Mark Hausse; Williams’ wife is also being held on a capital murder charge.
On Friday, Sergi issued a statement saying that Williams “vigorously asserts his innocence and denies any involvement.” On Saturday, investigators said they found a stockpile of 20 weapons in a storage unit in Seogoville they say was rented at Williams’ behest. By Monday, Sergi had resigned from the case, the Dallas Morning News reported.
Sergi has not yet responded to requests from the San Marcos Mercury to talk about the case.
Sergi represented Williams last year in charges prosecuted by McLelland and Hausse in the theft of three computer monitors from a county storage facility. His conviction cost him his job and his law license.
By Williams’ account, there was bad blood between him and McLelland long before Williams first faced criminal charges in late 2011. That was less than a year after Williams was elected as a justice of the peace and McLelland became DA.
Williams tried to get McLelland disqualified from prosecuting him, according to court records. David Sergi, one of Williams’ attorneys, wrote that “a high degree of animosity” developed when Williams opposed McLelland’s unsuccessful 2006 bid for the DA’s office.
Sergi alleged that the “mutual dislike … only intensified” when Williams published a letter shortly before the 2006 election day “questioning whether McLelland possessed sufficient character and integrity to hold office.”
Williams’ attorney characterized the criminal charges as “an attempt to settle a political grudge.” He also noted that when Williams was removed from office, the man he had defeated was selected to replace him.
On March 29, the day before McLelland and his wife were gunned down in their home, the Fifth Court of Appeals in Dallas agreed to hear William’s case, the Morning News reported.
COVER: Eric Williams in a Kaufman County booking photo.Email | Print