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Texas governor appoints replacement for slain district attorney

Texas Governor Rick Perry speaks at a memorial service for Kaufman County district attorney Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia in Sunnyvale
Texas Governor Rick Perry speaks at a memorial service for Kaufman County district attorney Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia in Sunnyvale

By Chris Francescani

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Texas Governor Rick Perry on Wednesday appointed a county judge to replace slain district attorney Mike McLelland, the second prosecutor from rural Kaufman County gunned down in the past 10 weeks.

Judge Erleigh Norville Wiley, a former Dallas County prosecutor currently serving as a Kaufman County judge, will finish out McLelland's term, which is set to end in 2014.

McLelland and his wife were found shot to death on March 30 at their home near Forney, 22 miles from Dallas, two months after Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse was gunned down on January 31. McLelland had publicly vowed to capture Hasse's killer.

No arrests have been made for the killings of the McLellands and Hasse, nor have investigators named a suspect or person of interest.

The twin homicides have rocked mostly rural Kaufman County on the eastern outskirts of Dallas, and several law enforcement officials have called them a direct attack on the criminal justice system."

Wiley, 50, who is married to Dallas-based federal prosecutor Aaron Wiley, could not be immediately reached for comment. Her appointment is subject to a Texas Senate confirmation, said Lucy Nashed, a spokeswoman for the governor.

Wiley was among five candidates who applied for the job.

If confirmed, Wiley will replace Brandi Fernandez, another veteran female Texas prosecutor who has served as interim

(Reporting By Chris Francescani; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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