UPDATE: Texas Official Says He's Protected After Death Of DA - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

UPDATE: Texas Official Says He's Protected After Death Of DA And His Wife

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PHOTO: AP PHOTO: AP

UPDATE:

KAUFMAN, Texas (AP) - The top administrator in the county where a Texas district attorney and his wife were killed says he is "certain" he and other officials are being protected.
    
Kaufman County Judge Bruce Wood declined Monday to discuss details but acknowledged extra security is in place at the county courthouse where District Attorney Mike McLelland worked. McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, were found shot to death in their home Saturday.
    
Assistant prosecutor Mark Hasse was gunned down just two months ago outside the courthouse. Officers were seen patrolling one side of the building Monday morning, while others walked around inside.
    
McLelland's office is closed Monday. The judge says officials will meet with members of McLelland's staff later in the day to help get a feel for what their needs are.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

UPDATE:

KAUFMAN, Texas (AP) - Kaufman County's sheriff confirms that the district attorney and his wife were shot and killed.
    
Sheriff David Byrnes told reporters Sunday that authorities found Mike McLelland and his wife shot at their home Saturday night.
    
Authorities have given no motive for the attack in their home just outside the town of Forney, about 20 miles from Dallas.
    
Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland took no chances after one of his assistant prosecutors was assassinated two months ago. McLelland said he carried a gun everywhere he went and took extra care when answering the door at his home.
    
"I'm ahead of everybody else because, basically, I'm a soldier," the 23-year Army veteran boasted in an interview less than two weeks ago.
    
On Saturday, he and his wife were found dead in their home just outside the town of Forney, about 20 miles from Dallas, killed in an attack for which authorities have given no motive.
    
"Everybody's a little on edge and a little shocked," Forney Mayor Darren Rozell said. "It appears this was not a random act."
    
The killings came less than two weeks after Colorado's prison chief was gunned down at his front door by a white-supremacist ex-convict, and two months after Kaufman County Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse was shot to death in a parking lot a block from his office Jan. 31. No arrests have been made in Hasse's slaying.
    
Kaufman Police Chief Chris Aulbaugh told The Dallas Morning News that the McLellands had been shot. As for whether their deaths were related to Hasse's slaying, the police chief said: "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."
    
McLelland himself, in an Associated Press interview, raised the possibility that Hasse was gunned down by a white supremacist gang. McLelland, elected DA in 2010, said that Hasse hadn't prosecuted any cases against white supremacists but that his office had handled several, and those gangs had a strong presence in the area.
    
"We put some real dents in the Aryan Brotherhood around here in the past year," McLelland said after Colorado's corrections director, Tom Clements, was shot to death March 19 when he answered the doorbell.
    
Aulbaugh said recently the FBI was checking to see if Hasse's killing could be related to Clements'. Evan Spencer Ebel, a former Colorado inmate and white supremacist who authorities believe killed Clements, died in a March 21 shootout with Texas deputies about 100 miles from Kaufman.
    
McLelland, 63, said after Hasse's slaying that he carried a gun everywhere he went, even to walk his dog. He figured that was where assassins were more likely to try to get him. He said he had warned all his employees to be constantly on the alert.
    
"The people in my line of work are going to have to get better at it," he said of the danger, "because they're going to need it more in the future."
    
The number of attacks on prosecutors, judges and senior law enforcement officers in the U.S. has spiked in the past three years, according to Glenn McGovern, an investigator with the Santa Clara County, Calif., District Attorney's Office who tracks such cases.
    
But they're still rare. McLelland is the 13th prosecutor in the U.S. that the National Association of District Attorneys has recorded killed since the organization began keeping track in the 1960s.
    
For about a month after Hasse's slaying, sheriff's deputies were parked in the district attorney's driveway, said Sam Rosander, a McLelland neighbor.
    
The FBI and the Texas Rangers joined the investigation into the McLellands' deaths.
    
McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, were the parents of two daughters and three sons. One son is a police officer in Dallas. The couple had moved into the home a few years ago, Rozell said.
    
"Real friendly, became part of our community quickly," Rozell said. "They were a really pleasant happy couple."
   

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Previous Coverage:

KAUFMAN, Texas — Two months after one of his assistant prosecutors was gunned down, a north Texas district attorney and his wife were found killed in their home, authorities said.

The bodies of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, were found in their home Saturday, Kaufman County sheriff's Lt. Justin Lewis said. Authorities would not comment on a motive.

"Everybody's a little on edge and a little shocked," Forney Mayor Darren Rovell told The Associated Press on Sunday. "It appears this was not a random act."

Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse was shot to death in a parking lot a block from his office on Jan. 31. No arrests have been made in his death.

Lewis declined to say how the couple died or whether authorities believe their deaths are linked to Hasse's. Police, FBI agents, Texas Rangers and deputies were all part of the investigation.

Rovell said what's so shocking is that the attack occurred at the district attorney's home, an unincorporated area just outside Forney, which has 15,000 residents within the city limits and about 40,000 in the area. Kaufman County is 33 miles southeast of Dallas.

Kaufman Police Chief Chris Aulbaugh told The Dallas Morning News that the McLellands had been shot in their home, and although investigators didn't know if their deaths were related to Hasse's killing, they couldn't discount it.

"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," Aulbaugh told the newspaper.

Sam Rosander, who lives in the same unincorporated area of Kaufman County as the McLellands, told the AP on Saturday 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.

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 100 miles 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.

"Anything anybody can think of, we're looking through," McLelland said after Hasse's death.

McLelland graduated from the University of Texas before a 23-year career in the Army, according to the website for the district attorney's office. 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.

McLelland and his wife had moved into the home within the past few years ago, Rozell said.

"Real friendly, became part of our community quickly," Rozell said. "They were a really pleasant happy couple."

___

Associated Press writer Michael Graczyk in Houston contributed to this report.

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