After the Kaufman County District Attorney and his wife were killed in their home on Saturday, a federal prosecutor from Texas has stepped down from a racketeering case against the Aryan Brotherhood.
Jay Hileman, an assistant U.S. Attorney in Houston, emailed defense attorneys for the 34 defendants saying that he was withdrawing from the case on Tuesday.
Richard Ely, one of the defense attorneys, said that he thinks the decision was based on the killings of District Attorney Mike McLellan and his wife, Cynthia, over the weekend.
"I understand why someone would want to step back, and it makes sense to me, especially people who have families," Ely said. "Jay is a friend of mine, and this was a personal decision."
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There is no evidence proving it, but it has been theorized that the killing of the McLellans was retaliation for Mike’s ties to the investigation and indictment of the 34 alleged members of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas.
Prior to the killings, Texas authorities warned prosecutors about threats that the white supremacist gang had made to inflict "mass casualties" on law enforcement officials who were handling the case, reports The Daily News.
Fear of potential attacks and retaliation has caused some Texas legal officials to increase their security measures. Harris County District Attorney Mike Anderson, whose district includes Houston, now has round-the-clock protection.
Anderson’s spokeswoman told The Houston Chronicle: “This danger is present every day. They put bad people behind bars everyday, and prosecutors and investigators carry this with them every day. It's sad, it's tragic. It weighs heavy on Mike, but it's not going to let it stop him, or anyone in this office, from doing their job.”