Third suspect arrested in alleged murder-for-hire shooting death of Austin jeweler
A third suspect in what investigators call a murder-for-hire plot orchestrated by the victim's son has been arrested.
21-year-old Johnny Roman Leon III was arrested in College Station in connection to the shooting dead of Gallerie Jewelers owner Ted Shaughnessy on March 2, according to the Travis County Sheriff's Office.
Shaughnessy's son, Nicolas, is alleged to have conspired with Leon to kill Nicolas' parents in order to receive a $2 million life insurance payout.
Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez says Leon was identified after investigators pored through surveillance video at Nicolas' home.
Nicolas and his wife, Jaclyn Edison, said they were in College Station at their home when Shaughnessy was killed.
According to court documents, an employee at the apartment complex where Nicolas and Jaclyn live said Nicolas contacted her two weeks before the shooting 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.
A search warrant was obtained for Nicolas' and Jaclyn's apartment where a marriage certificate was found, indicating they were married in July of 2017, and that a friend named Spencer 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 Patterson on January 30. Nicolas asked if Patterson 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."
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 only 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.
Last month, Jaclyn Edison's $1 million bond was reduced to $250,000, according to the Travis County District Attorney's Office.