Prosecutors: Ex-official was menace, made napalm
ROCKWALL, Texas (AP) — Prosecutors trying to persuade jurors to issue the death penalty against a former North Texas public official presented testimony Wednesday that he was a menace to others who hid homemade napalm.
The prosecution rested its case in the punishment phase of the capital murder trial for Eric Williams, 47, but not before showing jurors two canisters of napalm that investigators say were found in Williams’ storage unit kept.
Investigators also found dozens of weapons, ammunition and other items in the unit in the weeks after Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia were slain in their home east of Dallas in March 2013. Williams was convicted last week of killing Cynthia McLelland, and is charged in the deaths of her husband and assistant prosecutor Mark Hasse two months earlier.
Prosecutors on Wednesday portrayed Williams, a former justice of the peace, as a danger to others. A former girlfriend, Janice Gray, testified the two dated in the 1990s after meeting at a legal conference, according to The Dallas Morning News. After she broke off the relationship, he threatened her with a gun at another conference and told her “I have a gun, and if you walk away, I’ll use it. I have nothing to lose.”
Prosecutors have said Williams launched a revenge plot after he was prosecuted in 2012 for stealing county-owned computer monitors. His subsequent conviction cost him his job and law license.
But the defense team for Williams told jurors Wednesday he’s no longer a threat and that they should heed the teachings of Jesus, show compassion and spare him from execution.
They called to the stand a lawyer who was friends with Williams and testified that his prosecution was not justified. Attorney Jenny Parks said it was a “ridiculous prosecution.”
Defense attorney Maxwell Peck asked of the jury, “Is it right to destroy a man’s life over three computers?”