A north Texas county district attorney and his wife were found dead in their home on Saturday, two months after one of his assistant district attorneys was shot to death in a parking lot a block from his office.
Police, FBI agents, Texas Rangers and Kaufman County sheriff’s deputies were investigating the deaths of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, sheriff’s Lieutenant Justin Lewis said late on Saturday.
Lewis said he could not discuss the investigation in detail, including how the couple died and whether authorities believe their deaths are linked to the Jan. 31 shooting of assistant Kaufman County district attorney Mark Hasse.
The Dallas Morning News reported that Police Chief Chris Aulbaugh said the McLellands had been shot in their home and that although investigators did not know if their deaths and Hasse’s were related, they could not discount it.
“It is a shock,” the paper quoted Aulbaugh as saying. “It was a shock with Mark Hasse and now you can just imagine the double shock, and until we know what happened, I really can’t confirm that it’s related, but you always have to assume until it’s proven otherwise.”
Sam Rosander, who lives in the same unincorporated area of Kaufman County as the McLellands, told reporters that sheriff’s deputies were parked in the district attorney’s driveway for about a month after Hasse was killed.
Aulbaugh said recently that the FBI was checking to see if Hasse’s killing could be related to the March 19 killing of Colorado Department of Corrections head Tom Clements, who was gunned down after answering the doorbell at his home. He said that it is routine for authorities to look for possible links when there are similarities between two deaths.
Evan Spencer Ebel, a former Colorado inmate and white supremacist who authorities believe killed Clements and a pizza deliveryman two days earlier, was killed in a March 21 shootout with Texas deputies about 160km from Kaufman.
Hasse was chief of the organized crime unit when he was an assistant prosecutor in Dallas County in the 1980s and he handled similar cases in Kaufman County, 53km southeast of Dallas.
McLelland had said Hasse was one of 12 attorneys on his staff, all of whom handle hundreds of cases at a time.
In recent years, Hasse played major roles in Kaufman County’s most high-profile cases, including one in which a justice of the peace was convicted on theft and burglary charges and another in which a man was convicted of killing his former girlfriend and her 10-year-old daughter.
McClelland graduated from the University of Texas before a 23-year career in the Army, according to the district attorney office’s Web site. He later earned his law degree from the Texas Wesleyan School of Law. He and his wife have two daughters and three sons. One son is a police officer in Dallas.