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Ex-Federal Prosecutor: Kaufman Killings Look Like Professional Hits

Bill Zeeble

Fred Moss, a former assistant U.S. attorney, says the shootings of the Kaufman County district attorney, his wife and his top assistant have all the appearances of professional hits. Moss, who now teaches at Southern Methodist University, talked with KERA about how investigators would approach a case like this one.

“You can bet the FBI is looking at this as a multi-state thing," Moss says. The people behind the shootings "probably got people who put out the contracts, they’re probably bringing in people from the outside.... People who came across the border or hired from Chicago or something like that, came in to do the hit.”

Moss says that because he figures Kaufman County is not a hotbed of hit men. But even if the killers of DA Mike McLelland, his wife Cynthia and his assistant DA Mark Haase are from Texas, Moss says that means officials could still be looking for outsiders.

“So I’m at airports and train stations, bus stations, car rental places.  I’m at gas stations and convenience stores, and I’m looking at video and I’m doing cell phone tower checks, pings, and things. Everything I can get my hands on.” 

And, if the Kaufman County deaths are connected, he would look at the years both victims worked together. McLelland and Hasse started in Kaufman County in 2010.

“I would say OK, let’s get together all files of everybody who came through the office while those two people were in the office. Why would they go after one when he wasn’t there?  My first bet would be that  both of these guys must have had fingerprints on the case file. And therefore I have a limited number - a tighter group - of case files to look at.”

Moss says however high this case’s priority was after Hasse was killed, that priority just got higher after the McLellands were gunned down. Moss says the killers have to know they’ve unleashed the collective wrath of law enforcers across the country who are sending a message:

“You cannot do this because if you do all creation is coming after you. All the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are coming down on you because this is really serious stuff.”

Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.