The son of an Austin-area jeweler and his college girlfriend have been arrested and charged in a murder-for-hire plot to kill his parents and make off with a multi-million-dollar life insurance payout, police say.
On March 2, prominent Austin jeweler Theodore Shaughnessy, of Gallerie Jewelers, was gunned down in his home during an apparent home invasion.
Citing court documents, KXAN-TV in Austin reports Shaughnessy heard his dogs bark and grabbed a firearm to check the house. Corey Shaughnessy, the man's wife, said she heard gunshots about a minute later. She said someone then fired at her and she returned fire with her handgun "until she ran out of ammunition" and called police.
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Theodore Shaughnessey and one of the family's dogs were killed in the attack that investigators said Tuesday was part of a murder-for-hire plot by the couple's only child, 19-year-old Nicolas Patrick Shaughnessy.
Arrest warrants were issued late Tuesday afternoon for Nicolas and his 19-year-old girlfriend, Jaclyn Alexa Edison, of College Station. About 90 minutes later, both were in the custody of the Travis County Sheriff's Department.
In the months before the shooting, Nicolas Shaughnessy approached multiple people asking if they were willing to be paid to kill someone, investigators allege in an arrest affidavit. He estimated that he'd receive some $8 million from the life insurance policies for his parents, from the sale of their home and sale of the jewelry store.
Investigators with the Travis County Sheriff's office say Nicolas and Edison are accused of conspiring together to hire someone to murder both of Shaughnessy's parents, though it remains unclear who fired the shots that killed Theodore Shaughnessy.
Travis County Sheriff's spokeswoman Kristen Dark said in a statement to the Associated Press that detectives "are following new leads in the case." She declined to elaborate when later reached by phone.
Two days after Theodore Shaughnessy's death, a message was posted on Gallerie Jeweler's Facebook page saying the store was closed until further notice. Late last month, the page was updated to say "Nicolas, Ted's son, will be carrying on his legacy here at Gallerie."
Both Nicolas Shaughnessy and Jaclyn Edison are being held in the Travis County Jail on a charge of soliciting to commit capital murder, on cash bonds of $3 million and $1 million, respectively. It's not immediately clear if either have obtained an attorney.