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Local prosecutors on high alert after DA murders - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

Local prosecutors on high alert after DA murders

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With increased security, the Kaufman County courthouse reopened for the first time Monday since losing its top prosecutor. However, the District Attorney's office remained closed Monday.

D.A. Mike McLelland and his wife were found shot to death in their home Saturday.  Their murders happened just two months after McLelland's Deputy D.A., Mark Hasse, was shot outside the county courthouse.

First Assistant District Attorney, Brandi Fernandez, will be interim D.A. until Governor Rick Perry selects someone to permanently fill the position.

Fernandez is the former law partner of Hardin County's First Assistant District Attorney, Pat Hardy.

Hardy was once a prosecutor in Kaufman County.

Monday, Hardy went through multiple text messages that he received overnight Saturday detailing the bloody murders in Kaufman County.

"I turned my cell phone on and it looked like a Christmas tree going off," says Hardy.

In shock, he immediately contacted his former law partner who, on Monday, was named Interim D.A. in Haufman County.

"Her and I were real close and are still real close. I checked with law enforcement and they had her placed on lock down," he says.

Hardy and the Hardin County D.A. staff are also taking extra precautions.

"I think everybody in the state that's a prosecutor is on pretty high alert for this," Hardy says.

"We sometimes receive anonymous threats and direct threats. It's just something you have to be aware of," says Hardin County D.A., David Sheffield as he talked to 12News about heightened security.

Sheffield says threats are common. But, it's the silent threats that has become a black cloud hanging over the judicial system.

"Everybody's trying to figure out who's responsible for this. Once they find out who's responsible, they might find some type of motive," says Sheffield.

In Jefferson County, you must walk through metal detectors to get inside. It's what take place outside, like the 2012 Jefferson County Courthouse shooting, that is haunting prosecutors.

Jefferson County District Attorney, Tom Maness, says "It's a heightened concern. We have courthouse security. Now, people are being harmed in their homes. It puts everybody on edge. We are taking security precautions."

D.A. offices are keeping quiet on specific measures in place. But, Hardy says he's always looking over his shoulder.

"I always look around when I get out of my truck. You need to be alert. Now, I'm looking around twice," says Hardy.

Hardy says he will stay in contact with Fernandez. He tells 12News he did not work with McLelland while in Kaufman.

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