Hunt on for caller behind bomb threat at service for slain Texas DA

Hunt on for caller behind bomb threat at service for slain Texas DA
Friday, April 5, 2013 - 8:39pm

As friends and family attended a private funeral for a Texas prosecutor and his wife who were gunned down in their Kaufman County home, investigators on Friday announced the arrest of a man accused of threatening the safety of a deputy district attorney.

The news came after word that police were searching for a person who called in a bomb threat during the visitation Thursday night for Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, at a church in Wortham.The call was made about 6:30 p.m. after the bodies were returned to the church from a public memorial service in Sunnyvale.

The news of the arrest and the bomb threat come as federal, state and local authorities search for suspects in the unsolved killings of the county's district attorney and his chief felony prosecutor, who was killed almost two months earlier.

The McLellands' bodies were discovered on March 30 at their home, almost exactly two months after McLelland's chief felony prosecutor, Mark Hasse, was killed in a daytime shooting outside the county courthouse.

Authorities have been working to determine whether the killings of McLelland and Hasse are connected, scouring their case files and interviewing colleagues for help with potential leads.

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 63-year-old 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.

On Friday, the sheriff's office said it charged Robert Alan Miller, 52, of Terrell, Texas, with one count of making a terroristic threat. Officials said he threatened a deputy district attorney in a posting on a news website.

Miller, who was arrested Thursday, is being held at the Kaufman County Jail on $1 million bail, according to the sheriff's office.

Earlier, authorities arrested Nick Morale, 56, on one charge of making a terroristic threat after he allegedly threatened a county official.

An arrest affidavit alleges that Morale called the county's Crime Stoppers tip line on Monday afternoon, saying a county official "would be the next victim."

Authorities said there is nothing to link Miller or Morale to the killing of the McLellands or Hasse. They have declined to release the names of those who were threatened.

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

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