Terrell man arrested for using Kaufman tip line to threaten county employee

Terrell man arrested for using Kaufman tip line to threaten county employee

Nick Morale, 56, is accused of using a hotline set up for residents to submit tips related to the murders of two top prosecutors and the Kaufman County D.A.'s wife to threaten the life of a safety official. (Credit: Kaufman County)

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by MATT GOODMAN

WFAA

Posted on April 3, 2013 at 3:16 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 9 at 11:16 PM

KAUFMAN –– A Terrell man was jailed Wednesday on a charge that he threatened the life of a Kaufman County safety official on a hotline set up for the public to submit tips to help investigators find who killed two of the county’s top prosecutors and the district attorney’s wife. 

Nick Morale, 56, is being held in the Kaufman County Jail on $1 million bond. He’s charged with making a terroristic threat. According to an arrest affidavit, Kaufman County Chief Deputy Bryan Beavers reported the threat to the Texas Department of Public Safety on Monday. 

The caller stated that a specific public official "would be the next victim." The name of that person is redacted on the affidavit. The document says investigators visited Morale's address after linking it to the phone number listed on the call log. 

When he was arrested, the agent noticed that Morale had blocked his phone's caller ID feature when the call was made to the tip line. Specifics regarding what was said during the threat were not released. 

Kaufman County Sheriff Lt. Justin Lewis said investigators have not found any evidence linking Morale to the weekend killing of District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, or the fatal shooting of Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse outside the courthouse on Jan. 31. 

“All threats will be taken seriously, investigated and prosecuted to ensure the safety of our citizens and public officials,” Lewis said. 

The Texas Rangers arrested Morale on Tuesday in Kaufman, Lewis said. He was arraigned Wednesday morning. 

During a media briefing Wednesday afternoon, Lewis declined to elaborate on the investigation into the murders of the McLellands or Hasse. He urged residents to call the tip line at 877.847.7522 with any information “big or small” that may be related to the crimes. 

Investigators have not named a person of interest or a suspect in either of those cases. 

Lewis said all tips were being investigated and “are coming in on a very regular basis.” The Kaufman County Sheriff’s Department, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Texas Rangers and the FBI are all jointly investigating the murders, Lewis said.

A memorial service for the McLellands is set for 1 p.m. at the Sunnyvale First Baptist Church, located at 3018 North Belt Line Road in Sunnyvale.

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