1 arrested in threat, no link to DA death

April 3, 2013 at 4:13 PM

KAUFMAN, Texas, April 3 (UPI) -- Police in Texas said a man being held on a charge related to the investigation into the killing of prosecutors doesn't appear to be linked to the killings.

Kaufman County Sheriff's Office Lt. Justin Lewis told a news conference Wednesday Nick Morale, 56, of Carroll County, Texas, was being held on $1 million bond after allegedly threatening "the safety of a county official" during a call to a county tip line.

The tip line has been receiving calls from the public during the investigation into the slaying of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland, 63, and his wife, Cynthia, 65, at their home and the Jan. 31 shooting death of Mark Hasse, an assistant prosecutor.

Lewis said there was "nothing to link Mr. Morale to the murders of Mike and Cynthia McLelland or Mark Hasse."

A sheriff's department aide told reporters after the news conference there had been other similar incidents and police were taking a zero tolerance policy toward such threats.

Citing a federal official it didn't name, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday investigators were scrutinizing a former local official as a person of interest in the slayings. The official was dismissed after being arrested for alleged possession of stolen goods in connection with a corruption investigation.

McLelland and Hasse had participated in the prosecution of the former official, who subsequently threatened to retaliate against McClelland and allegedly threatened to burn down the home of another official, the Times reported.

The former official told the newspaper through his attorney, David Sergi, he is innocent and has cooperated with police.

Investigators have also said they are looking into whether white supremacists were responsible for killing McLelland and Hasse.

McLelland's office was one of many Texas and federal agencies involved in a multiyear investigation that resulted in the indictment last year of 34 alleged members of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas on racketeering charges.

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