A teenager accused of hiring a hitman to kill his parents had the killer enter through his unlocked bedroom window while he remotely logged in to the security system in his parents' home to deactivate alarms, according to a new affidavit.
Nicolas Patrick Shaughnessy, 19, is charged with criminal solicitation, a first degree felony. He's in the Travis County Jail with bond set at $3,000,000. His girlfriend, Jaclyn Alexa Edison, 19, also faces the same charge. Her bond is $1,000,000.
On Friday, March 2, the Travis County Sheriff's Office says Shaughnessy's mother called 911 and reported that an intruder had entered her home in the 9000 block of Oliver Dr. and that multiple shots had been fired.
When deputies arrived on scene they discovered the body of 55-year-old Theodore Shaughnessy with multiple gunshot wounds.
The sheriff's office now says Nicolas Shaughnessy and Jaclyn Edison conspired together and hired someone to murder Shaughnessy's parents.
Brian Colfack, a close family friend who lives down the road from where Theodore was killed, says the neighborhood has been on edge for the past few months not knowing if the ambush was random or targeted.
"Very high level of anxiety. You just never expect a murder to happen in your neighborhood, or especially to one of your own neighbors," Colfack said
He is relieved that arrests have been made in the case but is in disbelief about the situation.
"He comes from a well-to-do family. He's been given pretty much everything he wants or wanted as a young man," Colfack said. "I have no idea what happened in his life that caused him to turn so violent and cause him to turn away from all the things he had been brought up with."
Colfack says he is close friends with Nicolas’ grandfather and says his grandfather tried to do everything he could to keep Nicolas on the right track when he was younger.
"He was involving him in his work, he was taking him on trips, he was taking him on different excursions around the community," he said.
But a year ago, things seemed to change.
"A year ago, I said 'how's the grandson doing' and he just kind of shrugged his shoulders and said ‘agh,’ and so I kind of took that to mean they weren't in really close relationships anymore," Colfack said.
According to the affidavit, Shaughnessy told investigators that at the time of his father's death, he was in College Station, where he lives with Edison. He told police he was contacted by phone to inform him of the shooting death of his father.
Shaughnessy's mother told deputies that she found Nicolas' bedroom window open and none of the doors, which unlocked from the inside with a key, were unlocked, meaning that the gunman would have known they had to leave through the window.
Nicolas told deputies he regularly used the window as an entrance and exit to his bedroom, and many friends had done the same.
When investigators spoke with an employee at the apartment complex where Nicolas and Jaclyn live in College Station three days later, she said Nicolas contacted her two weeks before by social media asking if she were looking to make extra cash. When she inquired what he meant, Nicolas allegedly responded "Illegal activities" and "Anything from strippers to murder."
The employee says Nicolas told her he would pay her "$20,000 a head" with a $15,000 incentive. The woman told investigators he followed up that statement with skeleton emojis, at which point she stopped responding to him.
Detectives spoke to one of Nicolas' friends, Spencer Patterson, who Nicolas had claimed had used the window in his bedroom as an entrance and exit before. Spencer said Nicolas has talked about faking his own death for the insurance money, and mentioned his and his parents' life insurance policies.
Patterson also said Nicolas told him he would get over a million dollars upon his parents' death, and that Shaughnessy has repeatedly called him since his father's death, asking him what the detectives knew and what Spencer was telling them.
Investigators confirmed that Nicolas Shaughnessy was the sole beneficiary of a $2 million policy if his parents were dead.
A search warrant was obtained for Nicolas' and Jaclyn's apartment in College Station where a marriage certificate was found, indicating they were married in July of 2017, and that Patterson was the officiant. Investigators also found a box of brass Sig .380 caliber bullets--the same brand and caliber found in the body of Theodore Shaughnessy. There were six rounds missing from the box.
On a computer seized from the residence, investigators found a chat log between Nicolas and Jaclyn from February 23 and 24 discussing a payment of $50,000 for a "job."
Search warrants for Spencer's cell phone and iPad turned up a conversation between Nicolas and Spencer on January 30. Nicolas asked if Spencer wanted to make $20,000. He later added the total would be $50,000, with "20 for each and 10 extra because 50 is a nice whole number."
On February 15, Nicolas told Spencer to look up how to start a Ponzi scheme, according to the affidavit. On February 26, Nicolas told Spencer he would need his help doing "cash drops," referring to dropping money off somewhere and leaving. On March 3, Nicolas allegedly asked Spencer if he wanted to see photos of the crime scene, and joked about being "demoted" from a person of interest since investigators gave him his phone back.
During the search of Spencer's iPad, investigators found a text conversation with Nicolas from August 2, 2017. Nicolas told Spencer he needed more cash. Spencer responded "u have questions or suggestions." Nicolas respoded "Plastic gloves Ski masks."
Investigators say Spencer responded "no no no" and Nicolas answered back "Fine fine. Just walk in shoot a family steal all their s--t. No mask needed cuz they'll be dead." Police believe these comments are an allusion to the shooting death on March 2, 2018.
Authorities obtained a search warrant for ADT, the alarm company that provided security at the Shaughnessy home. Investigators found that a remote login to the system happened 3 times the night of the murder, each done from the IP address of Nicolas' home in College Station. Police say on Nicolas and his parents had access to the system, and it had been accessed from Nicolas' IP address after his father's death, when his mother did not have access to her cell phone.
Court documents state that a confidential informant met with investigators on May 29, stating that Nicolas had asked the informant to kill his parents in exchange for money. Nicolas allegedly offered to pay the informant $10,000 per month, and stated that he would get $2 million from life insurance and $8 million upon the sale of their home and business.
The informant also told investigators about a conversation inside a vehicle with Nicolas and Jaclyn. The informant says Nicolas mentioned a plan for "financial gain" and that if it did not work out, there was "Plan B."
According to the informant, Jaclyn had a shocked look on her face. Nicolas told her not to worry about it, that the informant already knew about it. The informant believes the "Plan B" referred to Nicolas' plan to kill his parents based on their previous conversations.
Perry Minton and Rick Flores, attorneys for Nicolas Shaughnessy, released the following statement Wednesday afternoon:
“We have been working with the Shaughnessy family over the last several months as they mourn the loss of Ted. 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. Ms. Shaughnessy stands firmly behind her son. We will review the evidence as it becomes available to us.”