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Texas ex-official sentenced to death for murder of prosecutor's wife in apparent revenge plot

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ROCKWALL, Texas — A former justice of the peace in North Texas was sentenced to death Wednesday for killing a district attorney's wife in what prosecutors described as a revenge plot that left three people dead.

Eric Williams was convicted Dec. 4 of capital murder in the 2013 death of Cynthia McLelland, who was slain along with her husband, Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland, in their home east of Dallas.

Williams has been charged, but not tried, in the deaths of Mike McLelland and prosecutor Mark Hasse.

The 47-year-old Williams lost his job and law license after McLelland and Hasse prosecuted him for theft and burglary. Prosecutors say that conviction pushed Williams over the edge. During his trial, they presented evidence that he paid a friend to rent a storage unit where he kept more than 30 guns, police tactical gear and a getaway car.

Authorities say a masked Williams gunned down Hasse in January 2013 outside a courthouse building in broad daylight.

PHOTO: Eric Williams walks in to the courtroom after a recess during the sentencing phase of his capital murder trial at the Rockwall County Courthouse in Rockwall, Texas, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014. Williams was convicted for the murder of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia McLelland back in 2013. (AP Photo/The Dallas Morning News, Andy Jacobsohn, Pool)
Eric Williams walks in to the courtroom after a recess during the sentencing phase of his capital murder trial at the Rockwall County Courthouse in Rockwall, Texas, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014. Williams was convicted for the murder of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia McLelland back in 2013. (AP Photo/The Dallas Morning News, Andy Jacobsohn, Pool)

Prosecutors say a "masked assassin," whom they identified as Williams, approached Hasse as he walked to work and the two shoved each other. They said Hasse pleaded and yelled "I'm sorry" before he was repeatedly shot.

Two months later, Williams stormed into the McLellands' rural home and shot both the district attorney and his wife more than a dozen times each, according to evidence at his trial.

Williams' wife, Kim, is accused of helping him carry out the slayings and testified before closing arguments Tuesday that she drove the getaway car in Hasse's death and helped her husband dispose of weapons used in the shooting of the McClellands.

She said Eric Williams had a hit list that included former state District Judge Glen Ashworth and Kaufman County District Attorney Erleigh Norville Wiley.

Family of Cynthia and Mike McLelland addressed Williams during victim impact statements after he was sentenced to death, according to the Dallas Morning News.

"What you do will come back to you," said Nathan Foreman, Cynthia McLelland's son.

Defense attorney Matthew Seymour told The Associated Press that he had no comment.

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Photo Gallery:
PHOTO: Special prosecutor Bill Wirskye asks Kim Williams, the estranged wife of Eric Williams, a few questions during the punishment phase of the Eric Williams trial at the Rockwall County Courthouse in Rockwall, Texas, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. Williams was convicted Dec. 4 in the shooting death of Cynthia McLelland. He is also charged, but has not been tried, in the deaths of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and assistant prosecutor Mark Hasse.    (AP Photo/The Dallas Morning News, Vernon Bryant, Pool)
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