North Texas Daily

Adjunct professor appointed new Kaufman DA

Adjunct professor appointed new Kaufman DA

April 17
11:24 2013

Caydee Ensey / Contributing Writer

Governor Rick Perry appointed UNT Dallas criminal justice adjunct professor and judge of the Kaufman County Court at Law Erleigh Norville Wiley on April 10 to serve the remainder of Mike McLelland’s term until 2014 as Kaufman County’s district attorney.

McLelland and his wife were murdered in their Forney home two weeks ago and just two months after Assistant DA Mark Hasse was killed as he was walking to the Kaufman County courthouse.

No formal charges have been made in either case, but CBS News reports that Eric Williams, a former justice of the peace, is the main suspect of both investigations. He was also admitted to the Kaufman County jail on Saturday with his bond set at $1 million for “terroristic threats.”

Wiley said she accepted Governor Perry’s nomination because she wants to help Kaufman residents.

“I’m an American, I’m free, and I’m going to do this for the citizens of Kaufman,” Wiley said. “They should not be held captive.”

The biggest challenge at the moment is getting the county back to normal day-to-day activities, she said.

“What is the very thing that any criminal wants? They want chaos.” Wiley said. “Whoever did this wanted us to be scared. Not that I’m so brave, but you have to stand up because we have to move forward. We can do this. There is a higher power in charge.”

While in Kaufman, Wiley and her family are being guarded by homeland security agents, state troopers and the Kaufman Sherriff’s Department.

“You are used to seeing things like this in a big urban city,” Wiley said. “But Kaufman is a nice county. It is a nice place to raise a family and kids. So who would’ve predicted this?”

Wiley said that there could be evidence to indicate that Williams could be connected with the murders of Hasse and the McLellands.

“My family is hopeful that we have the right person, so we are feeling a little better,” Wiley said. “At the same time people need to be mindful and make good decisions.”

Wiley graduated from University of Texas’ School of Law in 1988 and spent 14 years in the Dallas County District Attorney’s office.

Before being nominated to this position, Wiley served as a judge in Kaufman for 11 years. She has taught at UNT since 2011.

“I think she is going to do a great job,” said Lt. Justin Lewis, the spokesman for the Kaufman County Sheriff’s Department. “She looks at the situation realistically and is taking everything into account. We need someone who is stable and capable of doing the job. I think that is what we have in her.”

Criminal justice senior Lauren Escobedo said that she wasn’t surprised to hear the news of her professor’s nomination.

“She’s very kind-hearted and understanding, and at the same time very strong,” Escobedo said.

CNN is now reporting that the wife of Williams, Kim Williams, has been charged with murder in the DA killings. 

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