Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia Woodward McLelland were found slain in their Texas home Saturday evening and some are connecting their deaths to the January killing of McLelland's assistant district attorney.
The murder of McLelland and his wife shook the Texas law enforcement community Saturday evening. The couple was found slain in their home by a family friend who went over to check on them. Someone broke into the McLelland home and shot the couple multiple times before leaving without removing anything from the home. "It appears this was not a random act," Darren Rovell, the mayor of Forney, told the Associated Press. McLelland's lead attorney, 57-year-old Mark Hasse, was shot on the way into the courthouse in January.
The investigation into McLelland's death is now being handled by the Texas Rangers and the FBI, and it appears they should have some early leads. "Sources said early Sunday that surveillance cameras at the home offered authorities hope that video footage might help reveal who killed the McLellands," reports The Dallas Morning News' Tanya Eiserer and Tasha Tsiaperas.
There were initial reports the door of McLelland's house was kicked in when the bodies were found Saturday evening, but that's since been refuted. Cynthia McLelland was found shot in the house's front room. Mike McLelland was found shot in the hall way after apparently trying to get away. "Late Saturday night, sources said a .223-caliber assault rifle, similar to an AR-15, was used in the murders, with approximately 14 rounds being fired," WFAA reports. "There are shell casings everywhere," a law enforcement official told The Dallas Morning News. "This is unprecedented. This is unbelievable. This is huge."
After his lead investigator Hasse was killed in January, McLelland promised to find the people who killed him and bring them to justice. "I hope that the people that did this are watching, because we’re very confident that we’re going to find you, we’re going to pull you out of whatever hole you’re in, we’re going to bring you back and let the people of Kaufman County prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law," McLelland told reporters at the time.
Investigators are now looking into whether or not McLelland's death is connected to the murder of Colorado's prison boss Tom Clements last week. The lead suspect in that case, Evan Spencer Ebel, was a 28-year-old member of a white supremacist prison gang. Investigators are also looking for for possible connections to McLelland's work bringing down the Aryan Brotherhood gang in Texas. The New York Times explains why the gang might retaliate against McLelland:
In November, a federal grand jury in Houston indicted more than 30 senior leaders and other members of the whites-only gang on racketeering charges. The indictments stemmed from an investigation led by a multiagency task force that included Kaufman County prosecutors and three other district attorney’s offices.
For now, it's all speculation.