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Another TX prosecutor shot dead, double murder

11:45 AM, Mar 31, 2013   |    comments
(Photo: Ian C. Bates, Dallas Morning News via AP)
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By: Rick Jervis, USA Today

A Texas district attorney and his wife were shot to death in their home just two months after a prosecutor from the same office was gunned down outside the county courthouse, investigators said.

The bodies of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland, 63, and his wife, Cynthia, were found Saturday in their home 35 miles southeast of Dallas.

The door of McLellend's home home appeared to have been kicked in, the Dallas Morning News reported. Neighbors reported noises Friday night that they thought were from thunderstorms but indicated the murders may have occurred then.

Investigors planned to hold a news conference later Sunday to give additional details. So far, the Kaufman County Sheriff's Office has not said officially how the murders occurred, what the motive might be or whether any suspects had been identified.

"We're in the very preliminary stages in the investigation," said Justin Lewis, a spokesman for the Kaufman County Sheriff's Office, which is leading the investigation. "Right now, it's a death investigation."

The deaths come as federal and local agents are still searching for suspects in the brazen shooting death of Mark Hasse, an assistant district attorney under McLelland. Hasse was shot and killed the morning of Jan. 31 as he left his car outside the main Kaufman County courthouse. Lewis would not say if the two incidents were connected.

STORY: Texas prosecutor gunned down

Investigators in Hasse's shooting were looking into the possibility that the violent white supremacist gang, the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, was involved in the killing.

In an interview with the Dallas Morning News posted Feb. 19, McLelland said federal and local agents were following all leads in the Hasse case.

"I don't think you can rule out anybody," he said. "They're going to go turn over all the rocks that they can.

 

"It's been incredibly hard for folks because it was so sudden, so completely unexpected and so out of left field," McLelland told the news organization. But he said he felt hopeful Hasse's killer or killers would be found.

"He'll brag about it to somebody and that'll be his downfall," McLelland said. "I'm just hoping that's sooner rather than later."

Kaufman police officials said recently the FBI was checking to see whether Hasse's killing was connected to the Mar. 19 killing of Colorado Department of Corrections chief Tom Clements, who was gunned down after answering the doorbell at his home.

Evan Spencer Ebel, a former Colorado inmate and white supremacist who authorities believe killed Clements and a pizza delivery man two days earlier, was killed in a Mar. 21 shootout with Texas deputies about 100 miles from Kaufman County. Investigators in that case, however, have not revealed any links to Hasse's murder.

Hasse, 57, was chief of the organized crime unit when he was an assistant prosecutor in Dallas County in the 1980s, and he handled similar cases in Kaufman County.

McLelland, 63, had served 23 years as an Infantry Officer in the U.S. Army before attending law school and launching his legal career, according to his office's website. He had practiced law for 18 years as a criminal defense attorney, mental health judge and special prosecutor for Family and Protective Services, then served as criminal district attorney.

Contributing: Associated Press

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