Former FBI agent has theories on DA's murder

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by JASON WHITELY / WFAA

WFAA

Posted on April 2, 2013 at 8:17 AM

KAUFMAN — Deputies escorted employees into and out of the Kaufman County Courthouse on Monday, two days after the bodies of District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia were found in their home.

The district attorney's office was closed, but FBI agents still arrived as the investigation into the McLelland murders ramps up.

The couple was found shot to death inside their Forney home Saturday night, just two months after Mark Hasse, McLelland's top prosecutor, was gunned down outside the courthouse.

Law enforcement sources told WFAA that investigators are starting from scratch, with no leads in the McLelland murders.

Immediately after Hasse was killed, McLelland had around-the-clock security, but the patrol car was pulled last month. Sources told News 8 it was only supposed to be a temporary assignment.

News 8 also learned the McLellands had surveillance cameras in their home — but only the kind which could be monitored online rather than the type that constantly records.

Everything in this case is likely being looked at — from county employees to organized crime.

"The most likely is organized [crime]," said Buck Revell, former special agent-in-charge of the Dallas FBI office. "But it could be an individual hiring professional hit men."

Revell said both Mark Hasse and the McLelland murders appear to have been carefully planned, with surveillance likely done on both targets, and an execution-style killing of Kaufman County's two top prosecutors. The motives remain a mystery.

"There's always the revenge factor," Revell said, "but the most likely [scenario] is it's an ongoing investigation or an ongoing prosecution that may have triggered this."

Brandi Hunt Fernandez is the county's new interim district attorney. Gov. Rick Perry appointed her on Monday — a position she will hold for 21 days until a permanent replacement is selected.

County Judge Bruce Wood is making a list of potential candidates for that job, including public defender Andrew Jordan.

"It's obviously a tremendous responsibility, and I think any smart person would be apprehensive about doing it in light of what's going on," Jordan said.

Solving the Hasse and McLelland murders might take years, experts warned. It's likely to be a criminal investigation that's organized and methodical — just as the killings appear to have been.

Though the DA's office was closed on Monday, every employee showed up to work, County Judge Wood noted.

E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com

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