Kaufman County prosecutor killings a tale of politics, grudges and revenge

Eric Williams

There was a time when the assassination of a public official in Kaufman County was about as likely as finding a glacier.

Murders of any kind are rare in this mostly rural community. Run-of-the-mill burglaries, car thefts and petty drug crimes are more the norm.

So people were stunned when a man dressed in black pulled out a pistol and repeatedly shot Mark Hasse, a top prosecutor, near the courthouse. Fear amplified into terror a few months later when the bodies of District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, were found in their home riddled with bullets from what is believed to be an assault weapon.

Kim Williams

Many locals could only imagine that outsiders had violated their peace of mind. Perhaps a racist prison gang was responsible. Or a Mexican drug cartel.

The prime suspects who have emerged may be much more disturbing. The threat apparently was from within. Terrible and unforgivable acts may have been motivated by small-town politics and personal grudges. The zealous prosecution of a criminal case. A sense of persecution. Medical problems. Financial distress. And a thirst for revenge.

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