Investigators combing through murdered prosecutor's cases for leads

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by TERESA WOODARD

WFAA

Posted on January 31, 2013 at 11:33 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 1 at 12:49 AM

KAUFMAN -- From all indications, the murder of Kaufman County Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse was a planned attack according to investigators.

It was likely a case of retaliation or revenge.

Detectives expected to work all night at the scene of the Thursday morning shooting on Grove Street in Kaufman. Kaufman County Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse was gunned down as he walked from his car to the courthouse.

Kaufman Police Chief Chris Albaugh said it appeared Hasse was targeted, but that detectives cannot say that with certainty yet.

Witnesses told police they saw a shooter, maybe more than one, approach Hasse. There was a short confrontation outside his vehicle, and then shots were fired.

"I heard one or two, and then it got chaotic," said witness Michael Townsend.

The suspect, or suspects, were dressed in black, possibly wearing tactical gear, and might have been driving an old silver Ford Taurus. And they seemed to know exactly where Hasse was going to be, and when he'd be there.  

"It's shocking because it is in public, right in front of everybody," said Defense Attorney Eric Smenner, a longtime friend of Hasse's.

Since 1997, Smenner tried many cases against Hasse, in Dallas and Kaufman County. He said Mark had no enemies, except the countless criminals he's put away.

"You could trust him. A man of honor, a man of his word," Smenner said. "Are they trying to make a statement by doing it at the courthouse? That's what makes it even that much more outrageous."

Hasse had been an attorney for 30 years, working in two counties. His reputation was spotless.

"He was a great prosecutor -- worked with him in Dallas for years," said court reporter Scott Smith. "We both came down here at the same time. He was not only a great guy, but a great prosecutor."

Investigators said new leads were developing as they combed through Hasse's caseload.

His boss, Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland, promised justice for a man who lived to uphold the law.

"I hope the people that did this are watching," he said to television cameras Thursday afternoon, "because we're very confident we will find you, pull you out of whatever hole you are in. We're gonna bring you back and let the people of Kaufman County prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law."

The Kaufman County Courthouse will reopen Friday, but the DA's office will remain closed. The sheriff said he will add uniformed officers to the lot where Hasse was shot for the foreseeable future.

E-mail twoodard@wfaa.com

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