State

Man arrested for terroristic threat against official involved in Kaufman Co. DA murder investigation

Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Nick Morale

An arrest has come out of the investigation into the murders of a Texas district attorney and his wife, but authorities say the arrest is not directly connected to the killings.

Employees and elected officials in Kaufman County are already on high alert and now detailed in an affidavit is that a man has been arrested for allegedly making threats against a county official just two days after Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia were found shot to death in their home.

Investigators have arrested Nick Morale on one charge of making a terroristic threat. He is now in the Kaufman County Jail on $1 million bond.

Morale, 56, allegedly called the county's Crime Stoppers tip line on April 1 and said that a county official, who is not being named, would be the next victim. Investigators say Morale blocked the caller ID on his phone so that they wouldn't know who was calling.

Many employees and elected officials in Kaufman County are already asking for extra security. The DA and his wife were killed over the weekend, and Assistant DA Mark Hasse was killed two months ago in the courthouse parking lot.

The Kaufman Co. Sheriff's Office says it is looking into several threats and they stress that none of them necessarily have anything to do with those recent murders.

"At this time there is nothing to link Mr. Morale to the murders of Mike and Cynthia McLelland or Mark Hasse. Making threats against persons carries criminal penalties under both state and federal law with some of those penalties being pretty severe," said Lt. Justin Lewis with the Kaufman Co. Sheriff's Office.

Investigators are still not releasing any information, including persons of interest or suspects, in the McLellands' murder case.

Authorities said Wednesday that they are continuing to increase security throughout the county. The acting DA has guards escorting her from her home and to the courthouse.

A memorial service for the McLellands has been scheduled for Thursday, with their funerals scheduled for Friday.
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