Burns said they decided if they were both “lucky enough to pass the bar” they would practice law together. He said he convinced McLelland to move to Corpus Christi, were he lived at the time, and they had two other law school classmates move there to join them.
He called McLelland “a no-nonsense kind of guy. He was a major in the Army reserve – the active reserve. He was a straight-forward guy who would tell you exactly what was on his mind. And the thing we kidded about the most was that Mike had no identifiable vices – and we all did. But he was blunt, straight forward, and he was [also] very good in social situations. And what made him so endearing is you knew exactly where you stood with Mike.
“Cynthia was the perfect complement to that, because she was the opposite. She was solid gold, and she had a heart as big as Texas.
And they eventually got married when we were in Corpus Christi,” he added.
Burns said after three years McLelland wanted to return to the Dallas area. He added that his friend also had a master's degree in psychology and had worked in the mental health field.
“So he wanted to come back up and practice law with a focus on mental health,” he said. “He was actually appointed a special judge in mental health cases and mental hearings; he was an associate judge.
“And, when the opportunity came before him to run for district attorney in Kaufman County, back in 2010, he did. He ran against the incumbent and … won. So, he had been in office since January 2011.”
In the interim, between his election in the fall of 2010 and taking office the following January, Burns said McLelland came to Palo Pinto County to visit with him, attend court here, and “he wanted to get an idea of how the DA's office ran.”