A gun that was found by divers in a North Texas lake on March 5 has been identified as the weapon used to kill Kaufman County prosecutor Mark Hasse last year. The information was obtained by KHOU from a search warrant affidavit that had been filed for authorization to search a storage unit that was thought to contain evidence in the case.
KHOU reports that of two guns recovered by the Texas Department of Public Safety from Lake Tawakoni, one has been identified as the gun used in the slaying of Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse. The Ruger .357 can fire .38-caliber rounds, which is the same caliber of ammunition that was used to kill Hasse. Ballistics tests of the gun have determined that it is the same gun used in the Hasse murder.
Upon their discovery in the Texas lake, which is approximately 40 miles away from Kaufman, the guns were wrapped in a black mask. Hesse, 57, was murdered on Jan. 31, 2013 as he walked to the Kaufman courthouse. His killer wore a mask during the shooting. Divers have been searching defined areas of the lake for months while DPS investigators continued to collect evidence in the case.
Eric Williams, who is a former county Justice of the Peace, and his wife, Kim, were arrested and charged with capital murder for the killings of Hasse as well as the murders of Mike McLelland, 63, and his wife, Cynthia, 65. McLelland was a district attorney at the time of his murder, which occurred on Easter weekend last year in their own home in Forney.
The other gun recovered from the lake is linked directly to Kim Williams through sales records. Prosecutors will ask for the death penalty for Eric Williams, but have not disclosed whether they intend to ask the same for Kim. Eric’s trial is scheduled for jury selection in May and is set to begin in October. The recovery of the murder weapon will play a large part in the prosecution’s case.
Also important to the case is a Crown Victoria that was found in the storage unit for which investigators had obtained the search warrant. The car is believed to have been used in the murder of the McLellands. The title for the car was found in the Williams home by Texas police. Prosecutors believe that Eric Williams had asked a friend to secretly rent the storage unit for him. The search of the storage unit also resulted in the discovery of a live .223 shell that matched spent shell casings that were found at the McLelland home after their slaying.
It is believed that the Williams’ began planning the murders after Eric was prosecuted by Hasse and McLelland for a burglary and theft case of three monitors that were owned by the county in 2012. The charges against him, which resulted in probation, led to Eric being removed from his post as a justice of the peace as well as his law license. Eric Williams is currently housed in the Kaufman County Jail with a bail amount set at $23 million.
By Jennifer Pfalz