Criminal Justice

Search warrant seeks cellphone records in DA's slaying; why did security detail leave?

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A search warrant filed by the Texas Rangers seeks access to the cellphone records of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, who were found shot to death in their home on Saturday.

The warrant also seeks records of all cellphone traffic near the couple’s home in Forney, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. A search warrant affidavit says the McLellands were shot multiple times and deputies observed shell casings inside the residence. The Dallas Morning News Crime Blog has a copy of the warrant.

The couple were killed two months after the fatal shooting of another prosecutor in McLelland’s office, Mark Hasse. Meanwhile, questions are being raised about the reason why a security detail dispatched to McLelland’s home after Hasse’s shooting ended its assignment, CNN reports.

CNN affiliate KTVT reported that the security detail was removed because McLelland thought it was a waste of taxpayer money. But WFAA reported that the detail was intended to be temporary. WFAA also said McLelland’s home had security cameras but they didn’t constantly record video.

Gov. Rick Perry will appoint McLelland’s successor. McLelland’s chief deputy, Brandi Fernandez, is serving as his interim replacement. Two other officials have also traveled to Kaufman County to aid the DA’s office: Randy Reynolds, district attorney for the 143rd District in West Texas, and executive director Rob Kepple of the Texas District & County Attorneys Association.

CNN interviewed Kaufman city Mayor William Fortner. “I wonder if the governor is going to find anyone brave enough to take the job of district attorney,” Fortner said.

Some have speculated that white supremacists were behind the slaying. Kaufman County prosecutors had participated in a multiagency task force that investigated the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas prison gang, resulting in a racketeering indictment unsealed in November. CNN has information on the group in a separate story.

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