Man accused of using Texas tip line to make threat

Associated Press
This photo provided by the Kaufman County Sheriff's Department shows Nick Morale. Kaufman County sheriff's Lt. Justin Lewis said Wednesday April 3, 2013, that Morale has been arrested for making a threat during the investigation into the killings of a Texas prosecutor and his wife, but there is no indication he's connected to the deaths. (AP Photo/Kaufman County Sheriff's Department)
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This photo provided by the Kaufman County Sheriff's Department shows Nick Morale. Kaufman County sheriff's Lt. Justin Lewis said Wednesday April 3, 2013, that Morale has been arrested for making a threat during the investigation into the killings of a Texas prosecutor and his wife, but there is no indication he's connected to the deaths. (AP Photo/Kaufman County Sheriff's Department)

KAUFMAN, Texas (AP) — A Texas man is accused of making a threat against a county official just two days after a prosecutor and his wife were gunned down in their home, but there is no indication he is connected to the deaths, a sheriff's spokesman said Wednesday.

Nick Morale, 56, of Terrell, was jailed on $1 million bond a day after he was arrested on a charge of making a terroristic threat, Kaufman County sheriff's Lt. Justin Lewis said.

On Monday, someone left a threatening message on a tip line established by authorities after the killings of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, and said a specific county official would be the next victim, according to an arrest warrant affidavit released in the case. Authorities are not identifying the official. Investigators traced the call to Morale, according to the document.

There is no evidence to link Morale to the deaths of the McLellands, who were found dead of multiple gunshot wounds in their home Saturday, or to the Jan. 31 killing of Kaufman County assistant prosecutor Mark Hasse, Lewis said.

"All threats are taken seriously," Lewis said at a Wednesday news conference.

Authorities have not named any suspects in the killings but are investigating numerous leads, Lewis said.

Earlier Wednesday, a former Kaufman County justice of the peace convicted in a corruption case prosecuted by McLelland's office said he voluntarily submitted to a gun residue test and turned over his cellphone Saturday night after authorities contacted him while investigating the deaths.

Eric Williams said he has cooperated with law enforcement and hopes authorities find who fatally shot the couple.

"If I was in their shoes, I'd do the same thing," Williams said of investigators in a statement released by his attorney. "They need to do a thorough process of elimination and I have no hard feelings toward the prosecution in my trial, or of being asked about the recent slayings."

His attorney, David Sergi, said Williams also submitted to a gun residue test and gave his cellphone to authorities when investigators questioned him after Hasse's death.

Williams was convicted in March 2012 of burglary of a building and theft of a public servant, and he later was sentenced to two months of probation.

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