Death of a Prosecutor


Colton Peters, Columnist

On March 30, Kaufman County District Attorney, Mike McLelland, and his wife, Cynthia, were shot to death in their Dallas home. This is the second fatality this year involving a member of the Dallas DA’s office. In late January of this year, assistant DA Mark Hasse was gunned down on his way to work. McLelland vowed to put away the “scum” that had killed his colleague. While this would make it appear that there is a connection between the two cases, the county sheriff’s office has yet to release info indicating that there is any evidence connecting the two cases. Prior to the incident in January, a close friend of Hasse, attorney Colleen Dunbar, told the press that Hasse began to fear for his life, and that he started to carry a gun on him wherever he went as well as use a different exit from work each day. Though he informed others that he felt threatened, he did not disclose the reasons behind his feelings.

While other attorneys have now also begun to worry about their safety, the director of the National District Attorneys Association, Scott Burns, has released a statement that there is no reason to overreact to the recent shooting. He said that the records show that only 13 attorneys have been killed in the line of duty in the past hundred years.  While there hasn’t been any solid evidence to suggest any suspects, many different theories have risen to explain the murders. There are three particular theories that rise above the others. The first is that a white supremacist group, known as the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, was behind the killings, and that they had been seeking revenge after the DA’s office had participated in an investigation that had resulted in many major members of the gang being arrested. Other people believe that the shootings may have a connection to the March 19 death of prison chief Tom Clements in Colorado. The man suspected of that killing, Evan Ebel, was once a member of a white supremacist group and died in a shootout with authorities in northern Texas on March 21. The third belief is that McLelland’s death was motivated by something personal, and that it was likely someone that he knew was behind it. Whatever the case, authorities are investigating across Texas, and officials have vowed to catch whoever is responsible.