Search warrant suggests motive for Austin murder-for-hire case

Johnny Leon, Nicolas Shaughnessy, Jaclyn Edison
Johnny Leon, Nicolas Shaughnessy, Jaclyn Edison(KBTX)
Published: Jul. 25, 2018 at 10:04 PM CDT
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A Travis County search warrant revealed more details Wednesday night into the murder for hire case that left an Austin jeweler dead in his Travis County home.

His son, Nicolas Shaughnessy, who lived in College Station, is at the center of that investigation.

Investigators detail in an 11-page search warrant the financial struggles they believe led Shaughnessy to have his father Theodore Shaughnessy killed.

The warrant requests access to the home, vehicles and electronic devices connected to the 19-year-old.

Both Nicolas and his wife 19-year-old Jaclyn Edison are being implicated in the murder for hire plot that led to the fatal home invasion in March.

Investigators believe money was the motive behind the murder.

According to the warrant, Nicolas and his wife Jaclyn were in the midst of a financial storm in the weeks and months leading to the deadly home invasion near Austin.

A search through both of their cell phones on the day of the murder produced messages where the College Station couple shared concerns about their lack of money and the debt they owe.

Detectives say Nicolas even voluntarily told police he and his mother argued the week of the murder over a 30 thousand dollar loan she gave him to start trading stocks and bonds.

Police also confirmed there was a 2 million dollar policy on the Shaughnessy’s life. Nicolas was the sole beneficiary.

Months before the murder, detectives say Nicolas borrowed 2,600 dollars from his father's neighbor. Then weeks before the murder, that neighbor threatened to go to his parents if she didn't get her money back.

Investigators say, what's odd is there was no forced entry at the home. The shooters likely entered and exited through a window in Nicolas's old bedroom.

According to investigators, Nicolas, his mother, and his father were the only ones with access to the home’s security system. The morning after the murder someone logged in and manually deleted the videos from that night.

According to the warrant, a family friend told detectives Nicolas had mentioned he wanted to fake his own death to get insurance money.

In addition to the couple, a third person was arrested earlier this month. Authorities say 21-year-old Johnny Leon III may have been the shooter.

A gun belonging to the family has been sent off for testing. There is a second gun detectives have not yet located.