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Texas woman charged in death of prosecutor

DALLAS — The wife of a disgraced justice of the peace has been arrested and charged with the murders of the Kaufman County district attorney, his wife, and another prosecutor, and she has told investigators that her husband was the one who shot them.

Her confession was contained in an affidavit filed with the arrest warrant, which said the woman, Kim Lene Williams, 46, had confessed in an interview with investigators on Tuesday. She described in detail her own role and that of her husband, Eric Lyle Williams.

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Kim Williams was booked into the Kaufman County jail shortly before 3 a.m. Wednesday, and is being held on a $10 million bond, according to county jail records. She was charged with capital murder, which means she could face the death penalty if convicted, according to law enforcement officials in the investigation.

The authorities have recently focused on Eric Williams, who was convicted last year of stealing computer equipment in a case handled by the two prosecutors.

Law enforcement officials have not publicly named Eric Williams as a suspect and have not formally charged him in connection with the murders of the district attorney, Mike McLelland, 63; his wife, Cynthia, 65; and his chief felony prosecutor, Mark E. Hasse, 57. But investigators from local, state, and federal agencies have been focusing intensely on Eric Williams in recent days.

Eric Williams, 46, was already being held at the county jail on $3 million bond. He was jailed shortly after midnight Saturday, accused of sending an anonymous e-mail to law enforcement officials threatening another attack if his demands were not met.

A turning point in the investigation came late Saturday afternoon, when authorities arrived at a self-storage business a short drive from Kaufman. There, investigators found a large storage unit where Eric Williams kept a car and an assortment of guns, including handguns and assault rifles.

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The car, which he had purchased under someone else’s name, was a white Ford Crown Victoria that resembled an unmarked police car and was similar to the silver or gray Ford Taurus that witnesses had described fleeing the scene of the shooting of Hasse in January.

One law enforcement official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the inquiry, said that Kim Williams is not the person who rented the storage unit.

Eric Williams had been a sought-after lawyer, member of the chamber of commerce, and newly elected justice of the peace when he was accused of stealing computer monitors from a county building in May 2011.

The two prosecutors’ aggressive work on the case helped persuade a jury to find him guilty in March 2012. He was removed from office and his law license was suspended. His state-issued peace officer license — Eric Williams had nearly two decades of law enforcement training — was revoked.

Without a county salary or the ability to practice law in the state, he was unemployed and under financial stress, and he and his lawyers were convinced that evidence used to convict him had been tampered with and that McLelland had gone after him to settle a political grudge, according to court documents.

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