DA death probe includes ominous Facebook post; US prosecutor said to quit Aryan Brotherhood case
Updated: A federal prosecutor in Houston is withdrawing from a multiagency task force that investigated the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas prison gang as investigators probe the shooting deaths last weekend of Kaufman County, Texas, District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia.
Investigators have interviewed members of the Aryan Brotherhood gang, according to the New York Times, “but they remain no closer to linking the shootings to any particular suspects or motive.” The couple’s bodies were found on Saturday, two months after another county prosecutor, Mark Hasse, was fatally shot in a county parking lot. Kaufman County prosecutors had participated in the task force investigating the white supremacist gang, resulting in indictments against nearly three dozen gang leaders and other members.
Defense lawyers in the Aryan Brotherhood case were notified that Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Hileman was withdrawing from the case because of security concerns, the Times says. A spokesman with the office did not confirm or deny that Hileman was dropping out of the case, but did say the prosecution would continue.
On Wednesday, a new prosecutor was named as co-lead counsel on the Aryan Brotherhood task force, the Los Angeles Times reports. He’s Tim Braley, an assistant U.S. Attorney and a deputy chief of a Justice Department organized crime and gang task force. He will work alongside David Karpel, who had been previously working with Hileman.
Among the leads being pursued was a Facebook post stating that the slayings were “acts of revenge against the tyrannical, unjust, Pit Bull style treatment of every poor soul damned to do business in the Kaufman County courthouse.” The post, written under the name “Bob Miller,” named another prosecutor in the office who “will soon perish,” the Times says.
On Thursday, police charged Robert Allan Miller with making a terroristic threat, report the Dallas Morning News Crime Blog and KVUE.com. Authorities allege Miller made Facebook threats against a prosecutor who was due to try him on a criminal charge.
Meanwhile, investigators on Saturday evening approached a fired county official in a Denny’s parking lot who had been prosecuted by McClelland and Hasse. The former employee, whose law license was suspended, is appealing his theft conviction, according to NBCDFW.com. He submitted to gun residue tests and allowed a search of his cell phone, according to the broadcast station, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.
The convicted official told the NBC station he cooperated and he hopes investigators find whoever is responsible for “this incredibly egregious act.”
“If I was in their shoes, I would want to talk to me,” he told the broadcast station. “In the investigators’ minds, they want to check with me to do their process of elimination.”
ABAJournal.com: “Search warrant seeks cellphone records in DA’s slaying; why did security detail leave?”
ABAJournal.com: “Another Texas DA steps in to help 10-prosecutor office cope after Kaufman County DA is slain”
ABAJournal.com: “Texas DA and his wife are killed, two months after slaying of another prosecutor in his office”
ABAJournal.com: “Man is charged in threats made on tip line used for information in DA slayings”
Updated on April 4 to include information on new co-lead counsel of Aryan Brotherhood task force and to link to subsequent coverage. Updated on April 5 to include news of arrest in connection with Facebook threat.