A Texas jeweler was shot to death in a murder-for-hire plot put in motion by the man’s teenaged son and his wife, both 19, police say.
Nicolas Patrick Shaughnessy and Jaclyn Alexa Edison, of College Station, Texas, a suburb of Austin, were arrested on Tuesday and charged with hiring a hitman to kill Shaughnessy’s parents, according to KXAN TV, the local NBC affiliate in Austin, Texas.
“Shaughnessy and Edison are alleged to have conspired together and hired someone to murder Shaughnessy’s parents, Theodore and Corey Shaughnessy,” the Travis County Sheriff’s Department said in a press release.
Nicolas Shaughnessy's lawyers Perry Minton and Rick Flores said in a statement that the charges “are not consistent in any way with the young man we have come to know. Nick has been living with his mother since this tragedy occurred. Ms. Shaughnessy stands firmly behind her son,” KXAN TV reported.
Theodore Shaughnessy, who owned an Austin jewelry store, was shot to death just before dawn on March 2 by someone who broke into the family home. Corey Shaughnessy shot at the attacker with her own gun, “until she ran out of ammunition,” KXAN TV reported.
The shooter escaped, and remains at large.
“Detectives are following a series of new leads in the case and will identify and apprehend them as quickly as possible,” the sheriff's department said.
An informant told police that the teen said he was set to get $2 million from life insurance and another $8 million from the estate, and offered $10,000 per month for murdering his parents, according to the arrest warrant, CBS Austin reported.
Cops confirmed that Nicolas Shaughnessy was the sole beneficiary listed on a $2 million life insurance policy the couple had, the report says.
The warrant also alleges the informant told them about a conversation between the two suspects, during which Nicolas Shaughnessy mentioned a plan for "financial gain," and an alternative "Plan B,” which the informant believes was the plan to kill his parents, CBS Austin reported.
The warrant says investigators also discovered that the alarm system at his parents’ home was remotely accessed three times on the night of the shooting by someone in Nicolas Shaughnessy’s College Station apartment, CBS Austin reported. Video captured on the night of the killing was also deleted, according to police.
Investigators talked with a woman who worked at the apartment complex where the teen couple lived, who told them Nicolas Shaughnessy offered her a chance to make money. When she asked what she had to do, he allegedly replied “illegal activities,” anything “from strippers to murder.”
The woman added that Nicolas Shaughnessy texted her he would pay her $20,000 a head with a $15,000 incentive, before ending the message with skelton emojis, police say.
Cops searching Nicolas Shaughnessy’s apartment found a box .380 caliber bullets that were the same brand — Sig — found on the body of Theodore Shaughnessy, CBS Austin said. There were six rounds missing from the box.
Investigators also discovered several incriminating text messages, including some from February that show Edison messaging Nicolas Shaughnessy, "Do they want 50K or not" and "we can't afford to pay half before." Nicolas Shaughnessy responded, "Working on it tho."
On August 2, 2017, Nicolas Shaughnessy texted a friend "plastic gloves ski masks," the warrant says. When the friend replied "no no no," Nicholas Shaughnessy wrote, "Fine fine. Just walk in shoot a family steal all their s--t,” CBS Austin reports.
Then, on March 3, the day after the killing of his father, Nicolas Shaughnessy asked the same friend if he wanted to see crime scene pictures, before joking “about being 'demoted' from a person of interest.”
Nicolas Shaughnessy is being held on a $3 million cash bond; Edison is being held on a $1 million cash bond, Kristen Dark, the Public Information Officer for the Travis County Sheriff’s Department, told Oxygen.com.
[Photo: Courtesy Travis County Sheriff’s Department]