The Two-Way
10:40 am
Sun March 31, 2013

Texas District Attorney, Wife Found Dead At Home

Originally published on Sun March 31, 2013 11:36 am

The FBI, Texas Rangers and local police are investigating the killings of a Texas district attorney and his wife, who were found dead on Saturday. The slayings come two months after an assistant district attorney for the same county was shot dead in a parking lot a block from his office.

Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia Woodward McLelland, were shot at their home near Forney, Texas, a town about 20 miles from Dallas. The Dallas Morning News says that the slayings and the Jan. 31 killing of Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse may be part of the same plot.

"It is a shock," Kaufman Police Chief Chris Aulbaugh told the paper Saturday. "It was a shock with Mark Hasse, and now you can just imagine the double shock. ... Until we know what happened, I really can't confirm that it's related, but you always have to assume until it's proven otherwise."

The Dallas Morning News reports:

"The discovery of the McLellands' bodies spurred a massive response from law enforcement, including the FBI. While dozens of marked and unmarked vehicles patrolled the area, officers went door to door to interview neighbors.

"Authorities worked quickly Saturday night to confirm that other employees in the Kaufman County district attorney's office were safe, and they believed that everyone was accounted for. Security was being provided at the homes of others who authorities feared might be targets."

NPR member station KETR reports that Kaufman County Crime Stoppers is asking for donations to start a reward fund for the McLelland killing.

Meanwhile, the investigation into Hasse's slaying continues. Here's WFAA-TV:

"Almost two months ago, Hasse, McLelland's top deputy, was gunned down in broad daylight just a few steps from the county courthouse. He was murdered on January 31 as he walked to his office from a parking lot.

"A task force of multiple local, state and federal agencies have investigated dozens of leads, but have so far been unable to develop any suspects in the Hasse murder.

"McLelland vowed to hunt down Hasse's killer, and was confident that person would be brought to justice."

Hasse's death was also examined as part of the investigation into the March 19 killing of Colorado's prison chief Tom Clements. The suspect in that case, a member of a white supremacist prison gang, was killed by police March 21 in Decatur, Texas, while he was trying to escape. Officials say they have not found any connections between those two cases.

Update at 2:32 p.m. ET 'Unnerving'

At a news conference Sunday afternoon, Kaufman County Sheriff David Byrnes declined to discuss whether the two cases may be linked. But speaking of the McLellands killings, he said:

"It's unnerving to the law enforcement community. It's unnerving to the community at large, and that's why we're striving to assure the community that we are still providing public safety and we'll be able to do that. We're meeting all of our obligations plus the investigative responsibility."

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