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Former justice of the peace charged with murder in case of slain Texas DA

Kaufman County Sheriff's Office via AP

Former Justice of the Peace Eric Williams in a photo provided by the Kaufman County Sheriff's Office.

A former justice of the peace has been charged with capital murder in the deaths of a Texas district attorney, his wife and another prosecutor, Texas authorities said Thursday.

Eric Williams, 46, the former Kaufman County official, is accused of shooting and killing Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, and Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse, NBC 5 of Dallas reported.

"The death penalty is a viable option here," Kaufman County Sheriff David Byrnes told reporters.

The McLellands were found dead in their home March 30. Hasse was gunned down outside the county courthouse Jan. 31.

An arrest warrant affidavit alleges that Williams sent an email to law enforcement confessing to the killings. Williams, who was already in custody on previous charges of making a terroristic threat, was being held on $23 million bond. 

Williams' wife, Kim Lene Williams, also 46, has already been charged with capital murder in connection with all three deaths; authorities said Wednesday that she was being held on $10 million bond.

Kim Williams also confessed to having been involved Tuesday, investigators alleged in an arrest warrant affidavit, which said she gave details that hadn't been made public. She said her husband pulled the trigger, according to police.

Court documents indicated that the Williamses weren't yet being represented by an attorney.

Eric Williams was convicted of stealing computer equipment from a county building last year in a case that was prosecuted by McLelland and Hasse. Williams lost his job and had his law license suspended.

Investigators said both prosecutors "believed that Eric Williams blamed them for his removal from office" and "regularly carried handguns after the Eric Williams jury trial because they believed Eric Williams to be a threat to their personal safety," according to a search warrant the Kaufman County Sheriff's Office filed for the Williamses' home. 

"Justice has been delivered to the citizens of Kaufman and the families of Mark Hasse and Mike and Cynthia McLelland," Diego Rodriguez, the FBI's special agent in charge in Dallas, declared Thursday.

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