Arrest warrant issued for Austin man accused in murder-for-hire plot

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — A warrant has been issued for an Austin man suspected in a murder-for-hire plot back in September.

According to the warrant, when 34-year-old Nolan Wagner was arrested on October 1 for assault charges, he voluntarily told police that someone had taken various amounts of heroin, methamphetamine, and Xanax, as well as $1700 cash from him.

Wagner, who police say was known to distribute illegal drugs, told police that an acquaintance, Derick Bearden, had found the victim — the person Wagner claims stole from him — and that Wagner became concerned for the victim’s safety.

Wagner said he was not sure what Bearden was capable of, since they didn’t know each other very well, but admitted to giving Bearden a firearm and stressed that he felt the victim was in danger.

After receiving this information, officers felt that the victim was in danger and asked Wagner for permission to look through his phone to confirm the location and safety of the victim, as well as warn them of impending danger. Officers found the victim’s location on Wagner’s phone, in a text thread with Bearden.

Wagner admitted to police that the text thread looked “bad” but was trying to gain Bearden’s trust to get the money and drugs owed to him.

When Bearden was eventually booked on an unlawful possession of firearm by felon charge, he told police that Wagner had arranged the entire thing. Bearden claimed that he never knew where the victim was and had instead planned to get drugs and cash from Wagner.

Police say the text thread between Bearden and Wagner confirms that Wagner tried to get Bearden’s help to harm the victim.

Bearden claimed that Wagner had been “ripped off” by the victim and would pay $2,000 to find them. Bearden reportedly mislead Wagner in order to get the money.

In the warrant, Bearden also claimed that after texting Wagner, they met up, where Bearden received methamphetamine, $70 and the firearm that Wagner had reportedly wanted him to use against the victim.

The warrant says the gun that Bearden described matched the photo police found in Wagner’s text thread to him.

Once arrested, he faces a solicitation to commit capital murder charge, which is a first-degree felony. Wagner’s bond will be set at $200,000.

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