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Family of slain Texas DA: 'Not enough is being done' to catch killer

By Chelsea J. Carter and Martin Savidge, CNN
updated 9:52 AM EDT, Sun April 7, 2013
An officer salutes the casket during a memorial service for District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, on Thursday in Sunnyvale, Texas.
An officer salutes the casket during a memorial service for District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, on Thursday in Sunnyvale, Texas.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • "They are on edge right now," Chris Heisler, a family spokesman says
  • The family of the McLellands want federal authorities to lead the investigation
  • Heisler says the family has "some anger at this point"
  • The bodies of Mike McLelland and his wife were found in their home on March 30

Kaufman, Texas (CNN) -- The family of a Texas prosecutor and his wife who were gunned down in their home demanded Saturday that more be done to solve the killings, saying federal authorities should take over the investigation.

Authorities have been tight-lipped about the investigation since the bodies of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, were discovered March 30 at their home east of Dallas, two months after McLelland's chief felony prosecutor was killed in a brazen daylight shooting.

"Not enough is being done. They are on edge right now," said Chris Heisler, a spokesman for the McLelland children.

"If someone is willing to come out and shoot the district attorney and his wife in their home, their mindset is anything is possible."

Authorities have been working to determine whether the killings of 63-year-old McLelland and his chief felony prosecutor, Mark Hasse, are connected. They have been scouring their case files and interviewing colleagues for help with potential leads.

Additional security, meanwhile, is being provided to county officials, including prosecutors.

But the McLelland family believes it may be distracting from the investigation.

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"If you're gonna put folks to secure officials, who's doing the investigation? Who's patrolling the streets? Who's keeping the rest of Kaufman County safe? They're just not available," Heisler told reporters at news conference.

"... So we need more. Specifically the family wants the federal law enforcement to take the lead on this. That is a specific request from the family."

Heisler said the family, including the five grown children of the McLellands, has "some anger at this point" that more is not being done.

The family's criticism delivered by Heisler appeared to take Kaufman County Judge Bruce Wood, who has described McLelland as a friend and colleague, by surprise.

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McLelland "never expressed that to me ever," Wood said.

Asked whether Kaufman County authorities were stretched thin by the two investigations as well as providing security, he said: "There have been multiple agencies working on this from the beginning to find who is responsible. ... I feel everyone has worked together."

On Friday, one of the McLelland's daughters declined during an interview on CNN's "AC360" to comment on whether McLelland ever speculated on who killed Hasse.

"I can't answer that. We don't know anything," Christina Foreman, 29, told Anderson Cooper.

But she said in the days after the shooting death of Hasse that her parents were concerned about the safety of friends and co-workers than their own.

"They'd want to be remembered that they stood up and that they stood for something," Foreman said.

"And they stood for their families, their friends, their neighbor, the rest of Texas, the rest of the country, and we can't let people discourage us from doing that."

Foreman declined to comment on whether McLelland ever speculated on who killed Hasse.

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A day before his body was discovered, McLelland voiced concern about the safety of his staff when he stopped by Helz Firearms, a local gun shop.

"He was in there ... asking about what he should get his co-workers as self-protection," said O'Neil Kidwill, the gun shop owner.

"I recommended the .38 Smith & Wesson snub nose and perhaps a bulletproof vest. He said he already talked to some of the people about the vest, and he would tell them about the revolvers."

The county district attorney didn't give any indication that he felt personally threatened, only worried for his employees.

"He was concerned for them. For himself, he was at ease," Kidwell said.

But sometime after he left the gun shop, something happened.

The couple's bodies were found inside their home in Kaufman County.

They had been shot at least a dozen times, a law enforcement official, who had been briefed on the investigation, told CNN this week. The official was not authorized to publicly release details of the investigation.

While authorities have not publicly named any suspects or a potential motive in the cases, Kaufman sheriff's deputies arrested two men this week and accused them of threatening the safety of public officials.

Martin Savidge reported from Kaufman, Texas; Chelsea J. Carter reported and wrote from Atlanta. CNN's George Howell, Eric Fiegel, Carol Cratty and Joe Sutton contributed to this report.

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