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Suspect in Gonzales murders was arrested hours after killings

Hunt County Sheriff Randy Meeks will not seek re-election, he said.
Brad Kellar
Hunt County Sheriff Randy Meeks

On Friday afternoon a search in Hunt County for a suspect in a double homicide ended with an arrest only hours after the murders occurred. On today's edition of North by Northeast, KETR's Mark Haslett speaks with local reporter Brad Kellar about the latest information on the homicides and man-hunt.

Randy Meeks: Well hello, and thanks for coming. I’m Sheriff Randy Meeks, and I’ve called this press conference to update the public on the double homicide that happened in a rural area just outside of Commerce, Texas on June 17th, 2016. Before I go any further, please allow me to extend our deepest sympathies.

Mark Haslett: Hunt County is not a place where homicides are a common occurrence. Of course they happen now and then, but even when they do, it’s rare when two people are victims of such a crime. But that’s what happened to Nichole Elizabeth Gonzales, age 27, and her mother, Vicki Ann Gonzales, who was 51. They were killed in their home on State Highway 50, just north of Commerce. The cause of their deaths has not been released, although Hunt County Sheriff Randy Meeks, who we just heard introduce a press conference yesterday, says that the two were not killed by a gun. A suspect is in custody, and at this point, law enforcement officials have said that he’s the only suspect in the slayings.

Brad Kellar: Well currently, Tyrone Jamal Williams of San Marcos remains in custody at the Hunt County Detention Center, charged with capital murder of multiple persons. His bond has been set at $1 million. In a press conference on Monday, Hunt County Sheriff Randy Meeks said that they were able to identify Williams as the subject in short order, as one of the victims, Vicki Gonzalez, the mother, had screamed out his name when she called 911 on Friday afternoon. They also were able to determine that there had been multiple disturbance calls coming from that residence over the past year, in which Williams was the suspect, but apparently no charges were ever filed and no restraining order was ever sought in the case.

Haslett: Brad Kellar is the senior news reporter at the Greenville Herald Banner and he also files stories for KETR.

Kellar: Another development that was brought up yesterday: Williams vehicle was found about three miles away from the murder scene, but witnesses indicated that the car had been parked since early Friday morning, leading investigators to believe that Williams was lying in wait at some point for the victims to arrive back at their house.

Haslett: The 911 call from the Gonzales house came in at about 1:20 on Friday afternoon. Police say they believe that the killings happened almost immediately afterward. A multi-agency manhunt continued throughout the day and into Friday evening. Late that night, someone in Commerce reported a man matching Williams’ description on foot near the intersection of State Highway 24 and Live Oak Street in Commerce. That’s the big intersection near the Shell station with the Braum’s and the McDonald’s also nearby. Police questioned Williams, identified him and arrested him without incident.

Kellar: Mr. Williams was scheduled to appear in court today in the 354th District Court before judge Richard A. Beacom concerning the appointment of an attorney to represent him. In all likelihood, he will be appointed a representative through the West Texas Regional Public Defender for Capital Cases Program, which is a program Hunt County is enrolled in which provides public defenders for death penalty capital murder cases.

Haslett: The date for Tyrone Williams’ trial has not been set. For KETR News, this is Mark Haslett.

Mark Haslett has served at KETR since 2013. Since then, the station's news operation has enjoyed an increase in listener engagement and audience metrics, as well recognition in the Texas AP Broadcasters awards.