Supremacists suspect in killings of Texas DA, assistant
KAUFMAN, Texas — Two days after a Texas district attorney and his wife were found shot to death in their home, authorities have said little about their investigation or any potential suspects.
But suspicion in the slayings shifted to a white supremacist gang with a long history of violence and retribution that was also the focus of a December law enforcement bulletin warning that its members might try to attack police or prosecutors.
Four top leaders of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas were indicted in October for crimes ranging from murder to drug trafficking. Two months later, authorities issued the bulletin warning that the gang might try to retaliate against law enforcement for the investigation that led to the arrests of 34 of its members on federal charges.
Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife were found dead on Saturday in their East Texas home. The killings were especially jarring because they happened just a couple of months after one of the county's assistant district attorneys, Mark Hasse, was killed in a parking lot near his courthouse office.
McLelland was part of a multi-agency task force that took part in the investigation of the Aryan Brotherhood. The task force included the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration as well as police departments in Houston and Fort Worth.
Investigators have declined to say whether the group is the focus of their efforts, but the state Department of Public Safety bulletin warned that the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas is “involved in issuing orders to inflict ‘mass casualties or death' to law enforcement officials involved in the recent case.”
Terry Pelz, a former Texas prison warden and expert on the Aryan Brotherhood, said killing law enforcement representatives would be uncharacteristic of the group.
But Pelz, who worked in the Texas prison system for 21 years, added that the gang has a history of threatening officials and of killing its own members or rivals. He suggested that if the Aryan Brotherhood was behind the slayings in Kaufman County, some sort of disruption in the gang's operations might have prompted their retaliation.
That disruption might have occurred last year, when federal prosecutors in Houston in November announced indictments against 34 alleged members of the gang, including four of its top leaders in Texas. At the time, prosecutors called the indictment “a devastating blow to the leadership” of the gang.
Meanwhile, deputies escorted some Kaufman County employees into the courthouse on Monday after the slayings stirred fears that other public employees could be targeted. Law enforcement officers were seen patrolling outside the courthouse, one holding a semi-automatic weapon, while others walked around inside.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- New York farmers lament lost opportunity for natural gas riches with fracking ban
- Veteran NBC newsman Brokaw says his cancer is in remission
- Florida officer slain; 1 charged
- Nativity scene placed by Satanic display at Michigan Capitol
- NYPD: Cop ambush killer told passers-by to watch
- Government survey: More teens trying out e-cigarettes than real thing
- Coal mines near record low in worker deaths
- New York City subways slowly upgrading from 1930s-era technology
- WikiLeaks releases purported CIA documents on operatives’ travel
- Arizona immigrants OK’d to apply for driver’s licenses
- Tent city sprouts in shadow of downtown Detroit