Informant claims they were offered $10K a month in murder-for-hire plot

Crime

TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — The son of a prominent Austin jeweler has been arrested and charged with hiring someone to murder his parents. The man’s wife was also arrested and faces the same charge.

Nicolas Patrick Shaughnessy, 19, and Jaclyn Alexa Edison, 19, were each booked Tuesday evening into the Travis County Jail on one charge of soliciting to commit capital murder. They are accused of hiring someone to kill Theodore “Ted” Shaughnessy, the longtime owner of Gallerie Jewelers in central Austin.

It remains unclear who committed the murder. Shaughnessy, 55, was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds in his southwest Travis County home on March 2.

His wife Corey — the suspect’s mother — called 911 around 4:45 a.m. that morning to report a home intruder and that shots had been fired inside her home off Oliver Drive, near US 290 and Circle Drive. Investigators said one or more intruders forced their way into the home, and evidence at the scene led them to believe an intruder might have been injured.

According to court documents, when Shaughnessy heard the dogs bark, he grabbed his firearm to check the house. Less than a minute later, his wife heard gunshots so she grabbed her gun just as the suspects fired at her. She returned fire “until she ran out of ammunition.” 

Corey told detectives she ran into her closet and called 911. She didn’t come out of the closet until deputies arrived at the home.

In a statement by Perry Minton and Rick Flores, attorneys for Nicholas Shaughnessy, they say his mother “stands firmly behind her son.” 

 “We have been working with the Shaughnessy family over the last several months as they mourn the loss of Ted,” the attorneys said. “These allegations 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.”

Minton and Flores said they would review evidence as it becomes available.

According to an arrest affidavit, there were bullet casings throughout the kitchen and in the couple’s bedroom. Detectives discovered an open window in Nicholas’ bedroom.

The window screen had been removed but there did not appear to be any signs of forced entry to the window, according to the arrest affidavit. Detectives say the “suspects would have known they had to escape back out the bedroom window” due to the nature of the door locks.

As authorities were investigating the homicide, the victim’s son and his wife arrived at the home around 8 a.m. He said they were in College Station when they received the news about the shooting, according to the affidavit.

When detectives spoke to Edison at the scene, she began “sobbing heavily” when they told her they would need to test her for gunshot residue.

 Video taken by KXAN at the crime scene in March showed Nicolas Shaughnessy’s hands being photographed by investigators. 

According to court documents, the son “was not showing any emotion at all, and showed very little concern” for his mother.

When asked about the window, Nicolas Shaughnessy said he would use that window to get in and out of the home sometimes.

The home’s alarm system showed the system was remotely accessed three different times the night of the shooting. Detectives say it was traced back to Nicolas’ apartment in College Station. Police add that the video corresponding to the time of the break-in was gone. They believe someone logged into the system and manually deleted the videos, the only person who had access at that time was Nicolas. 

A few days after the murder, a woman who worked at the apartment complex where Nicolas and his wife lived in College Station called police and said Nicolas contacted her on social media and said if she wanted to make some cash to let him know.

When she asked what he meant, he allegedly responded “illegal activities” and anything “from strippers to murders.” He said he would pay her $20,000 a head with a $15,000 incentive and ended the message with skeleton emojis, according to court documents.

A friend of Nicolas’ told detectives Nicolas had talked to him about faking his own death and getting insurance money as well as his parent’s life insurance policy, though he never mentioned anything about killing his parents, the affidavit continued. Records show Nicolas was the sole beneficiary of $2 million in the event his parents died.

As detectives continued investigating, they discovered Nicolas and his wife had gotten married in July 2017. A search of their apartment revealed bullets which matched the casings found at the crime scene.

Cellphone records show the two were texting back and forth at the end of February regarding a possible transaction. Records show Edison message Nicolas with “Do they want 50K or not” and “we can’t afford to pay half before.” Nicolas responded, “Working on it tho.” 

Detectives found a text conversation Nicolas had with a friend on Aug. 2, 2017 saying “plastic gloves ski masks,” and when his friend responded “no no no,” Nicholas responded, “Fine fine. Just walk in shoot a family steal all their s–t.” 

On March 3, one day after the shooting, Nicolas asked the same friend if he wanted to see pictures of the crime scene and “joked about being ‘demoted’ from a person of interest.'”

An informant told detectives that Nicolas had approached them about killing his parents. He said he would pay the informant $10,000 per month. The informant said one conversation happened inside a car where Nicolas and his wife were present. 

Nicolas Shaughnessy is being held on a $3 million cash bond. Edison is being held on a $1 million cash bond.

Family friends who did not want to speak on camera told KXAN’s Brittany Glas they were shocked to hear of Tuesday’s developments, with one saying he “never saw anything but love in that family.” 

In an April 27 post on the Gallerie Jewelers Facebook page, it was announced that the store would return to its normal hours starting May 1. “We are happy to announce that Nicolas, Ted’s son, will be carrying on his legacy here at Gallerie,” the post says.

Customers described Ted Shaughnessy as a family man who was always talking about his son’s accomplishments and doting on his wife.

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