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Kevin Johnson and Dennis Cauchon, USA TODAY

Law enforcement officials will hold a news conference at 1 p.m. CT to provide details on the shocking murder of a Texas district attorney and his wife.

Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife were shot to death in his home just two months after one of his prosecutors was murdered on his way to work.

All three killings remain unsolved, and authorities have identified no suspects.

McLelland, 63, and his wife, Cynthia, 65, a psychiatric nurse, were shot to death in their home about 35 miles southeast of Dallas. Neighbors believe the killings occurred Friday night when gunshots were mistaken for thunder during a storm.

The Dallas Morning News reported that a friend discovered the bodies Saturday night. The newspaper said an earlier report that the home's door appeared to have been kicked in was not accurate.

WFAA-TV in Dallas reported that 14 shells from a .223-caliber rifle were found at the scene. The station also reported that the district attorney's body was found in the hallway and his wife in a front room. USA TODAY could not independently verify the information.

Investigators have not said if they believe the killing of McLelland is connected to the murder of Mark Hasse, 57, one of a dozen prosecutors who worked for McLelland.

However, local elected officials and others strongly believe the killings are connected.

"Everybody's a little on edge and a little shocked. It appears this was not a random act," Darren Rozell, mayor of nearby Forney, told The Associated Press.

"We're in the very preliminary stages in the investigation," said Justin Lewis, a spokesman for the Kaufman County Sheriff's Office, which is leading the investigation. "Right now, it's a death investigation."

The FBI, Texas Rangers and local police are still searching for suspects in the murder of Hasse, who was shot just before 9 a.m. Jan. 31 after he got out of his car in a parking lot behind the county courthouse on his way to work.

Investigators in Hasse's shooting had various theories, including the possibility that the violent white supremacist gang, the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, was involved in the killing.

Robert Kepple, executive director of the Texas District Attorney's Association, said Sunday that law enforcement and his members - about 5,000 prosecutors across the state - received a bulletin late last year from Texas Department of Public Safety, warning that the Aryan Brotherhood, might be plotting retaliation against law enforcement officials.

"Our people took notice of that, but it is hard to guard against these kinds of acts,'' said Kepple, who cautioned that investigators had not yet linked the latest killings to gang-related retaliation. "I know that is the working theory, but I don't want to prejudge this.''

The FBI checked to see if Hasse's killing was connected to the Mar. 19 killing of Colorado Department of Corrections chief Tom Clements, who was gunned down after answering the doorbell at his home.

Evan Spencer Ebel, a former Colorado inmate and white supremacist who authorities believe killed Clements and a pizza delivery man two days earlier, was killed in a March 21 shootout with Texas deputies about 100 miles from Kaufman County.

Investigators in that case, however, have not found any links to Hasse's murder. A source, who has knowledge of the cases but is not authorized to comment publicly, told USA TODAY that investigators compared ballistics evidence in both cases but did not find an immediate match.

In November, the FBI announced that 34 members of the Aryan Brotherhood, including four senior leaders, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Houston for racketeering.

Although barely two months separate the Kaufman County slayings, murders of prosecutors are still relatively rare.

Prior to the Kaufman County cases, the last prosecutor murdered in Texas was Gil Epstein, an assistant district attorney in Fort Bend County near Houston in 1996.

Epstein was shot to death in an armed robbery when authorities said the gunman, Marcus Cotton, noticed Epstein's badge. Cotton was executed in 2004.

McLelland was a former platoon leader and company commander in the U.S. Army infantry. Born in the small town of Wortham, Texas, he'd gone to junior college on a football scholarship and got a history degree from the University of Texas at Austin, according to his biography on the county web site.

He got a degree in psychology and got his law degree while working as a psychologist for the state of Texas. He had five children, including a son who is a Dallas police officer.

McLelland was a "well respected prosecutor who pulled together his staff'' following Hasse's slaying, Kepple said. "He (McLelland) was a strong and good public servant.''

Contributing: Associated Press

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