AUSTIN (KXAN) – A woman connected with a 2018 murder-for-hire plot pleaded guilty to conspiracy to attempt to commit capital murder Tuesday and was sentenced to 10 years probation.
Jaclyn Edison, who was 19 at the time, was accused of conspiring with her husband, Nicolas Shaughnessy, who hired two men – Arieon Smith and Johnny Leon – to kill Nicolas’ father, Ted Shaughnessy, owner of Gallerie Jewelers in Austin. Smith, Nicolas and Leon all pleaded guilty to the murder as part of a plea agreement in 2021 and were sentenced to 35 years in prison.
As part of her plea deal, Edison will serve 10 years of probation and must stay in the Travis County Jail for two days each year on the anniversary of Ted’s death. Further, Edison had to give up her passport, cannot leave Texas without first informing her probation officers, can never contact the victim’s family again and must take an anger management course. She cannot reduce the duration of her probation, per court documents.
Edison, the former daughter-in-law of Ted, was the final defendant indicted in the case.
Steve Brittain – an attorney who represented Ted’s wife, Corey Shaughnessy – said Edison was offered Tuesday deferred adjudication – a form of probation that allows a defendant to accept responsibility for a crime without the conviction being placed on their record. Brittain explained that when deferred adjudication is sometimes offered, it is usually to first-time drug offenders or in cases of intoxication manslaughter.
“In the close to half a century that I’ve worked with criminal law as a prosecutor and a defense attorney… I have never seen anything like this,” Brittain said. “I can’t put it together in my mind, and I just don’t understand it.
“She is evil. And in my view, very dangerous,” he continued.
Edison’s defense attorney, Bill Hines, declined to comment after the hearing.
‘You are evil and everyone needs to know it.’
After Edison was sentenced, a taped recording of Corey Shaughnessy’s allocation statement was played for the court. Throughout the nearly eight-minute and 30-second phone call, Edison’s head could be seen shaking side-to-side, and at one point, she appeared to quietly sob.
“Do you remember your 19th birthday? I took you out for lunch and a day of shopping at Nordstrom. Your husband Nicholas surprised you with the Coach purse that you had wanted. And I gave you a half-carat diamond solitaire pendant. It’s your birthstone. And more importantly, it was the first birthday gift that I gave to you — my new daughter-in-law as a way to welcome you into our family,” Corey said.
“Today is my birthday. I don’t have much to celebrate anymore, but I’m still alive. I’m alive because your plan, together with your husband, to have me murdered alongside your father-in-law didn’t succeed. Don’t get me wrong. There are many many days that I wish you had succeeded and that I had died. I can’t look at photos of your husband, my son, or you – my daughter-in-law – without wondering exactly when you began to plan our deaths,” she continued.
“Ted and I took you when you said you had nowhere to go, that your father beat you and you were afraid to go home,” she said. “I guess after you and Nick shared all those Sunday dinners with me, Ted, Nick’s grandparents, uncle [and] are family friends, you’d go and plot some more to kill us.”
“You could have saved Ted with one phone call. That’s all it would have taken just one. Ted was a good man, a good father, a good friend and my husband of 30 years. You conspired with Nicolas to have him killed. We opened our home and our hearts to you. And you and Nicholas took everything from us. How long will it take for you to find another family to destroy? How long will it be before Bonnie finds her next Clyde? You are a monster. You are evil and everyone needs to know it, ” Corey concluded.
Ted Shaughnessy was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds on March 2, 2018, after an intruder entered the home. His son, Nicolas, was the sole beneficiary of $2 million if one of his parents were to die, according to a search warrant. Corey and Ted adopted Nicolas from Russia when he was 18 months old, Brittain told KXAN.
According to 2018 police documents, Nicolas, who at the time was living in College Station, was experiencing hard financial times and owed his mom, Corey, $30,000, per the documents.
Detectives said when they searched Nicolas’ apartment, they found a torn-up piece of paper. When detectives assembled it back together, it showed a hand-drawn diagram of the murder crime scene.
According to District Attorney José Garza, Nicolas and Smith will both be eligible for parole in a little less than 20 years.
“Our family wants you to know how your decision on that day affected our lives forever – a selfish and heinous act of cruelty. Ted was a vibrant, compassionate, respected individual that had his life taken from him because of your greed,” Ted’s family wrote in an allocution statement read before Nicolas Shaughnessy and Smith after their sentencing in 2021, according to KXAN reporting.
“The people that you selected to assist you have ruined their lives and their families’ lives as well. And for what? A payment for a heinous act of cruelty? A payment that was never made? It would be our hope that you are never released from prison. We understand this plea but are not happy about it,” the statement, addressing Nicolas directly, went on.
“What you have done is unforgivable in our eyes. None of you will ever serve enough time for our family. What you have done has changed so many people’s lives, including your own. You will be middle-aged when you get out, and you won’t have many opportunities afforded to you, and that is the way it should be. None of you deserve any kind of normal life. Our lives are no longer normal, and you shall have the same fate.”