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Aryan Brotherhood founder says gang never targeted law enforcement

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(CBS 11 NEWS) - The smoke had barely cleared, after a veteran prosecutor was shot in broad daylight near the Kaufman County courthouse, when word spread about a possible prime suspect.

Law enforcement leaks suggested Mark Hasse's killing on the morning of Jan. 31 was a "hit" ordered by the notorious prison gang, known as the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas.

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But from his prison cell 160 miles away, Bobby Adams, co-founder of the gang, also known as the "ABT," was not buying it.

"I really had my doubts …the AB has never really directed violence at law enforcement," Adams said in an exclusive jailhouse interview with CBS 11's I-Team. Instead, he said, "they'll kill each other over small, nothing stuff."

Adams, a convicted robber serving life as a habitual criminal, co-founded the ABT in 1981. But he took himself out of the gang several years, believing it had become fractured by infighting. "They're their own worst enemy. They prey on each other. They're stabbing each other in the back …figuratively and literally," he said.

But as the investigation of Hasse's death moved forward, law enforcement officers and much of the media continued to suspect the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas. Those suspicions grew even stronger two months later when Kaufman suffered another jolt – the shooting deaths of Hasse's boss, District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia.

CBS 11's I-Team, however, was pursuing a different, seemingly credible, tip: that the killings were part of a grudge, tied to former Justice of the Peace Eric Williams. Williams had been forced from office a year earlier after Hasse and McLelland prosecuted him on charges that he stole several county-owned computer terminals.

CBS 11's Senior Investigative Reporter Ginger Allen and Senior Investigative Producer Jack Douglas Jr. even met with McLelland in his office about the DA's suspicions that Williams was responsible for the death of his prosecutor, Hasse.

Days later, on the eve of Easter, Mike and Cynthia McLelland were found shot to death in their home.

Then, in mid-April, investigators turned their attention away from the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas and, instead, began focusing on Williams.

First his wife, Kim Williams, was arrested as an accomplice; followed a day later by the arrest of the ex-JP. Both remain in the Kaufman County Jail – his bail set at $23 million, her's at $10 million – while a grand jury considers indictments.

Meanwhile, Bobby Adams remains in a Texas prison unit in Huntsville – his home for nearly his entire adult life, satisfied that the gang he started had nothing to do with the killings in Kaufman.

At age 58, with little chance of ever tasting freedom again, the Houston native has had plenty of time to reflect. He hopes his mistakes can serve as a lesson for others starting out in life.

"If you get involved in gangs, you're going to go out there and one of your so-called bros is going to end up killing you over some minor mistake," he said.

Peering through the narrow space of prison bars, Adams added: "Or you're going to come to prison …you're going to live in a box about the size of your bathroom for the next twenty or thirty years …

"If that ain't enough to discourage you and turn you around to live a straight life …I mean, I don't know what else to say."

If you want to reach CBS 11′s Senior Investigative Producer Jack Douglas Jr., you can email him at jdouglas@cbs.com. If you want to reach CBS 11′s Investigative reporter Ginger Allen, you can email her at gingera@ktvt.com.

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