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District Attorney: Serious threats uncommon for local prosecutors

ALBANY, Ga. -- Greg Edwards and his staff have locked away many of the county's worst criminals since he became a prosecutor, yet he says it's pretty rare that he receives a serious threat from a defendant or convict.

Saturday, the bodies of Kaufman County, Texas, District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, were found at their home.

The ensuing investigation, which now includes investigators at the state, local and federal levels, has turned toward an element of the Aryan Brotherhood, a white supremacist group.

Edwards said that, with a few exceptions, defendants often avoid conflict with prosecutors, at least until they're convicted.

"I have never been threatened as a prosecutor, but I was threatened when I was an attorney doing domestic civil cases, and typically it was when I was working a divorce or something similar," Edwards said.

As it pertains to his safety, Edwards says that he doesn't spend a lot of time worrying about what someone who has a desire to exact a level of revenge could do to him.

"I've always thought about that and personal safety is always an issue, but I guess the thing is this: I always tell people I'm not particularly brave, but we're all going to go sometime, so you can't worry about it," Edwards said. "As long as you do your job professionally, most defendants relate positively to that.

"You can't defeat the justice system by killing one person or a group of people. The law is bigger than one person."

Kaufman County Sheriff David Byrnes said on Sunday that the FBI, Texas Rangers and other law enforcement officials were investigating the double homicide.

The Kaufman County Sheriff's Office was notified shortly before 6 p.m. Saturday that the two bodies had been found in the McLellands' rural home just outside Forney, about 20 miles from Dallas, Byrnes said.

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 killing of Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse. Kaufman County is considered a regional stronghold of the gang, which U.S. Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, a former judge, said was heavily involved in drugs and prostitution and "anything for money."

"Usually the defendants know that if they target me or one of my attorneys or staff, that things will get a lot worse for them," Edwards said. "In Georgia, killing a prosecutor is grounds for the death penalty."

Thirteen prosecutors have been murdered in the United States in the last 30 years.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Comments

Sister_Ruby 1 year ago

Are any perps ever found guilty in DoCo?

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RedEric 1 year ago

I am still betting on the Mexican drug cartels as the perps.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year ago

You get my drift, though right? You gotta convict somebody to get them PO'd at you.

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