Former Kaufman County Justice of the Peace Eric Hill will face the death penalty, according to prosecutors who have been assigned to handle the case against the man who allegedly murdered two prosecutors and one prosecutor’s wife during a rampage which attracted nationwide news coverage, according to an article in the Dallas Morning News today, Saturday, July 27. Toby Shook, one of the special prosecutors and a former assistant district attorney in Dallas, said he hoped to get the case in a courtroom by October of 2014.
Shook further said venue would normally be in Kaufman County, the scene of the brutal murders which froze the community with fear during the months the killer of the law enforcement officials was free. No word yet on whether the death penalty will be sought against his alleged accomplice and wife Kim Hill who lived in Forney, Texas.
Prosecutor Mark Hasse was murdered Jan. 31 as he exited his vehicle near the Kaufman County Courthouse. Hasse, 57, was headed to work at the district attorney’s office when an unidentified gunman or gunmen shot him to death before he could reach the courthouse en route to work.
District Attorney Mike McLelland and wife Cynthia were slaughtered in their Forney home over the Easter weekened leading to some speculation that a drug cartel might be be involved. A curtain of terror and uncertainty descended over the normally peaceful community not far from Dallas as investigators including the Texas Rangers, FBI, Kaufman County authorities and others sought those responsible for the unprecedented murders.
Cynthia’s body was found sprawled near the front door and husband Mike’s body was found futher back in the house as he appeared to be going for his cache of guns which he kept in the back part of their home.
The back to back murders of prosecutors from the same office are unprecedented in the annals of American criminal justice history. The world was shocked when a local justice of the peace were arrested and charged with capital murder in connection with the related murders.
The justice of the peace allegedly held a grudge against members of the district attorney’s office for charging him with stealing a computer from county property which eventually led to him losing his job.
While no word has yet been uttered as to whether the death penalty will be sought against his wife, speculation is that prosecutors may be negotiating with her attorney for an agreement in which she testifies against her husband in return for her life being spared.
The former justice of the peace reportedly was retaliating against the prosecutors for their theft prosecution against him. McLelland and Hasse were both prosecutors on this case and ironically said he had a dangerous streak based on his threats to kill a local defense attorney.
Hill lost his job as well as his law license over the prosecution.
The prosecution has alleged the JP was the shooter in both the murders of Hasse and McLelland. His wiefe Kimberly was allegedly the driver of the get away car in both cases. As an acoomplice, or party under Texas law, she would be share guilt with her husband if there charges were proved.
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