A former Harris County, Texas, prosecutor and judge turned congressman pinpointed possible Aryan Brotherhood involvement in the slaying of a district attorney and his wife over the weekend at their suburban Dallas home.
Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) knew Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland, who had taken to carrying a gun for his protection after Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse was killed Jan. 31.
“He was, you know, just basically a good person who believed in upholding the law,” Poe said on CNN this morning of the formal criminal defense lawyer and military vet. “…He was very well liked in Kaufman County and very well respected by both sides of the bar, the prosecution and the defense.”
Poe received a number of threats in his 22 years of criminal justice service and called the family members, friends and associates of a person you send behind bars a “constant concern.”
“But in the big scheme of things, nationwide, there has really not been that many attacks on prosecutors. Thirteen have been killed over the last 30 years, so that’s not very many. But more prosecutors are watching out for their own safety and the safety of their families; and judges, as well, because people sometimes have become more violent and don’t like — not only the case, but the case that the prosecutor is investigating,” the congressman said. “And in this case, it seems to me like this was a case where the D.A.’s office was investigating a certain criminal cartel — excuse me, criminal gang — and that’s why these events may have occurred.”
Poe said he believes intimidation is the motivating factor behind the killings.
“It could be possibly the Aryan Brotherhood. The district attorney has said they operate in his portion of the State of Texas. Aryan Brotherhood is a prison criminal gang. When they get out, many of them continue criminal ways, involved in drugs or prostitution; anything for money. And it seems that a scenario may be developing that the district attorney’s office was investigating this gang, or another gang, and they wanted to prevent that investigation and therefore they resort to violence,” he said.
“That is just one possible scenario. But I think more than one person was involved in these three homicides now.”
In December, the Texas Department of Public Safety issued a bulletin warning tips they’d received of retaliation plots in the works by the Aryan Brotherhood. The FBI has also been investigating potential ties between Hasse’s killing and the March 19 murder of Colorado prisons chief Tom Clements.
“I’m sure that the people in Kaufman County, most of them who know each other, and people that come into the county, they are very concerned about maybe their safety, but also the safety of law enforcement personnel. These murders, the three murders, seem to me to be specifically aimed at certain people in particular roles in law enforcement, not other people in the community,” Poe said. “That’s why now the Texas rangers, FBI and law enforcement are going to find these culprits and bring them to justice. But people are very concerned about their own safety.”