Kaufman County, Texas, District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, were murdered Saturday evening in their Dallas-area home. The attack comes two months after one of McLelland's deputies was shot and killed and two weeks after Colorado prisons director Tom Clements was murdered at his home.
The Jan. 31 murder of Kaufman County Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse remains unsolved, but investigators believe a possible motive was retaliation for anti-Aryan Brotherhood prosecutions by the DA's office. Clements was believed to have been killed March 19 by a white supremacist who then died after a police chase in northern Texas.
The Dallas Morning News reports that McLelland was part of a multi-agency task force that indicted 34 members of the Aryan Brotherhood in October. Hasse was shot to death outside the county courthouse shortly after officials were warned of a revenge plot by members of the gang.
McLelland openly considered the possibility that Hasse was murdered because of his department's work, and reportedly decided to carry a gun around for personal protection. "We put some real dents in the Aryan Brotherhood around here in the past year," McLelland told The Associated Press shortly before his murder.
At a news conference after Hasse's death, McLelland boldly asked the public for help "getting our hands on this scum."
"I hope that the people that did this are watching, because we're very confident that we're going to find you," McLelland said at the news conference. "We're going to pull you out of whatever hole you're in, we're going to bring you back and let the people of Kaufman County prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law."
Texas Republican Rep. Ted Poe, a former prosecutor, speculated during a CNN appearance Monday that the Aryan Brotherhood was responsible for McLelland's murder.
"It seems to me 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," Poe said, according to The Guardian. "It could possibly be the Aryan Brotherhood."
Colorado prison records indicate that Clement's supposed killer, Evan Ebel, was a parolee and a member of the white supremacist prison gang "211s," which CBS Denver notes is also called the Brotherhood of Aryan Alliance.
Colorado police reached out to their Texas counterparts Sunday about the possible connection between the killings.
"We have nothing to indicate that they are connected, but just based on a [district attorney] being involved we figured it was worth our while to reach out," Joe Roybal, a spokesman for Colorado's El Paso County Sheriff's Department, told the Denver Post. "There is nothing substantial that would require our investigator to go down there personally."
Fox News reports that prosecutors are rarely murdered in the U.S., according to data from the National Association of District Attorneys, which records 13 such killings since the 1960s.