By Loyd Cook
Suspended justice of the peace Eric Williams has been found guilty on all charges by a Kaufman County jury in the 422nd District Court on Friday.
“I’m ecstatic,” District Attorney Mike McLellan said after the verdicts were announced. “It shows the community that elected officials should be, and are, held to a higher standard. It’s not the old system over here any more.”
“The Good Old Boy Network is gone.”
The six-man, six-woman panel returned the verdict after a little more than three and a half hours of deliberations. Williams was found guilty of burglary of a building and theft by a public servant.
Both counts are state jail felonies.
Eric Williams’ defense team was disappointed in the result.
“I don’t think justice was served,” said lead defense attorney David Sergi. “We will vigorously appeal.”
In closing arguments before the case was given to the jury for a decision, defense attorney David Sergi pointed to the testimony of his computer expert, Lanny Derryberry. Derryberry pointed to 72 audio/video files he contended were inserted into surveillance video offered to the court.
Sergi listed several areas where Williams had participated in projects to help the county, painting a picture of a dedicated public official.
But assistant district attorney Mark Hasse was not having any of that portrayal of Williams.
"This guy sitting over at the end of the defense table is an elected official who is nothing but a thief and a burglar," Hasse said.
Hasse reminded jurors that Derryberry admitted having no certifications to examine computers.
422nd District Judge B. Michael Chitty set a sentencing hearing for 10 a.m., April 9 to decide on punishment for Williams in connection to the case.
Williams will remain free on bond until the sentencing hearing.