The white supremacist group Aryan Brotherhood may be behind the weekend killings of a Texas district attorney and his wife, which occurred months after an assistant prosecutor was shot dead in the same county, a Texas lawmaker said today.
"I believe it is a group. It could possibly be the Aryan Brotherhood," Texas Congressman Ted Poe, a Republican and veteran former judge and prosecutor in his state, told CNN.
Poe did not elaborate on his hypothesis about the killings, or say what exactly his information was based on. But he stressed that only 13 prosecutors have been murdered across the United States in the last 30 years and said the Texas killings had all the hallmarks of a brazen campaign of fear and intimidation, "specifically aimed at certain people in particular roles in law enforcement."
Investigators have not named any suspects in the case.
"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 added.
Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, were discovered with fatal gunshot wounds at their home near Forney, Texas, on Saturday. Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse was gunned down in January.
While he would not discuss possible suspects in the case, law enforcement officials are widely believed to have focused on the prison-based Aryan Brotherhood in the still unsolved Hasse killing. Kaufman County is considered a regional stronghold of the gang, which Poe said was heavily involved in drugs and prostitution and "anything for money."
Hasse was shot and killed on January 31 in a gangland-style killing just outside the Kaufman County courthouse. The killing came on the same day the U.S. Justice Department released a statement saying the Kaufman County District Attorney's Office was involved in a racketeering case against the Aryan Brotherhood.
In an indictment unsealed in November, the Texas arm of the Aryan Brotherhood was described as a gang responsible for murders, arson, assault and other crimes, and prone to "extreme violence and threats of violence to maintain internal discipline and retaliate against those believed to be cooperating with law enforcement."
Wood described McLelland as a friend and colleague and said he and McLelland had spoken regularly about Hasse and the investigation.
"This is not just an attack on two very fine people, but an attack on the justice system," Wood told Reuters.