Residents of Kaufman County, Texas, were left shocked when District Attorney Michael McLelland and his wife, Cynthia McLelland, were murdered inside their home on March 30, 2013. Although the circumstances surrounding the homicide were quite strange, the police began wondering if Mark Hasse, who was killed on January 31, 2013, was connected to the double homicide in any way.
‘Dateline: Bad Intentions’ chronicles the gruesome slayings and follows the investigation that eventually brought the perpetrator to justice. If you are intrigued about the details surrounding the case and want to find out why Michael and Cynthia were murdered, we have you covered.
Who Killed Michael and Cynthia McLelland?
At the time of his death, Kaufman County resident Michael McLelland held the prestigious post of District Attorney. However, people who knew him from work admired his honesty and accountability towards his profession. On top of it, Michael was also known to be an out-and-out family man, and he shared an excellent relationship with his wife, Cynthia. Their neighbors mentioned that it was a joy to have the couple in the community, and it was apparent that Michael and Cynthia were much respected.
Interestingly, some of Michael’s acquaintances mentioned that even though district attorneys can make quite a few enemies through the nature of their work, Michael tried to maintain an amicable relationship with most, which is what made his and Cynthia’s demise even more shocking. On the night of March 30, 2013, Michael and Cynthia had gone to bed as usual when a masked intruder broke into their home. Armed with an assault rifle, the intruder crept through the house silently until he reached the master bedroom.
The intruder then took aim and emptied a whole magazine of bullets into the bed where Michael and Cynthia were sleeping peacefully. By the time the police arrived, the district attorney and his wife had both passed away, and an initial medical examination spotted several bullet wounds on both their bodies. Later, an autopsy determined that the two died after being shot at from close range, and the police were convinced that it was a crime of hatred fuelled by personal vengeance.
The initial investigation into the double homicide was pretty challenging, but law enforcement officials soon wondered if Michael and Cynthia’s deaths had any connection with the murder of Mark Hasse. Mark, a prosecutor and Kaufman County’s associate district attorney, was murdered on January 31, 2013, in broad daylight. However, even though several onlookers witnessed his murder, they were unable to provide a description that would lead to a suspect.
When the police looked at Mark and Michael’s professional connection, they realized that the two had worked together on a case against Eric Williams. Considering him to be a suspect, they interrogated Eric’s wife, Kim Williams, who confessed to Eric’s role in the murder. Moreover, the police also found a storage unit where Eric stored his weapons and the car he used to drive away after murdering Mark. Thus, with enough evidence, Eric was arrested and convicted of capital murder, which fetched him a death sentence in 2014. His wife, Kim, also confessed to being the getaway driver for Mark’s murder and was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Why Were Michael and Cynthia McLelland Killed?
Once the police recognized Eric Williams as the primary suspect in the case, they learned that he was a former justice of the peace in Kaufman County. However, Eric had been disappointed with the backdated technology his office was provided with, and his petitions to update the same were not accepted immediately. Hence, Eric took matters into his own hands and decided to steal several computer monitors from a county building. However, CCTVs spotted him walking out with the monitors.
Michael, the district attorney, asked him to plead guilty to a misdemeanor in exchange for a lenient sentence. Yet, Eric refused to acknowledge his mistake and insisted on his innocence, which infuriated Michael. Eventually, the district attorney approached Mark Hasse and asked him to charge Eric with a felony. This led to a public trial in which he was convicted and sentenced for his crime. On top of it, Eric was also fired from his position as a justice of the peace, which made him determined to seek revenge.
In fact, his wife, Kim Williams, later claimed that Eric swore to take revenge against several others, including the judge who read out his conviction and sentenced him. Kim also mentioned that Eric was pretty excited when he planned Michael and Mark’s murders, although Cynthia McLelland was a collateral victim. Hence, official reports have since maintained that Michael and Cynthia lost their lives in a murder-for-revenge plot by Eric Williams.