Gov. Rick Perry doubles the reward for tips on Kaufman County DA murders
Rick Perry and the Texas Governor's office have pledged an additional $100,000 to the reward pool for information about three high-profile murders in Kaufman County, bringing the total amount to $200,000.
District attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia Woodward McLelland, were shot to death in their home on April 30. Their shooting follows the January 31 murder of assistant district attorney Mark Hasse outside the Kaufman County Courthouse.
Perry, speaking at an April 4 press conference ahead of a memorial service for the McLellands in Sunnyvale, said the authorities would "leave no stone uncovered" in their investigation.
"It is very premature to be making any statement about who may have been involved in this," Gov. Perry said.
The FBI is soliciting tips on the crimes via billboards in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi and New Mexico. The billboards were donated by the Outdoor Advertising Association of Texas, Fairway and CBS.
Suspects are finally beginning to emerge in the wake of the horrific murders that shocked the rural community.
One suspect is a former official who has threatened McLelland and Hasse in the past. This individual, who has not been charged and is not being named for his own safety, was fired as the result of a "corruption probe" and allegedly levied a number of threats against other public officials.
A second person of interest was arrested on April 3 for leaving threatening messages on a tipline intended to gather information on the unsolved murders. Nick Morale, 56, is reportedly being held on $1 million bail in Kaufman County Jail.
Initial theories about a motive in the killings focused on white supremacist groups, and drug cartels have recently entered the widening pool of suspects as well.
"It is very premature to be making any statement about who may have been involved in this," Perry said on April 4. "We know we have a porous border, we know that drug cartels, the gangs, both transnational and otherwise, in some cases, are operating together."
In addition to Perry, the press conference included remarks from Kaufman County Sheriff David Byrnes, Judge Bruce Wood and FBI Special Agent Diego Rodriguez. Interim District Attorney Brandi Fernandez, who replaced McLellan after his death, also spoke.
All officials urged the public to get involved in the investigation.
"Call us on any information you have, no matter how minor you think it may be," Bynes said.
Perry said the public would play the most important part in the investigation and that outside tips can provide missing links that help the authorities piece together a case.
"Texas is a law and order state. We will track down and punish those responsible," Perry said.
Tipsters should call Kaufman County Crimestoppers at 1-877-847-7522