Former College Station resident pleads guilty in murder-for-hire plot

Former College Station resident pleads guilty in murder-for-hire plot
Nicholas Shaughnessy (Source: Travis County Sheriff's Office)

AUSTIN, Texas (KBTX) - The son of a well-known Austin jeweler who was murdered in 2018 has pleaded guilty in the murder-for-hire plot.

Nicolas Shaughnessy, a former College Station resident, was sentenced to 35 years in prison Wednesday after plotting to have his father, Theodore Shaughnessy, killed in order to obtain up to $8 million in life insurance and business and personal property. Arieon Smith, who was also charged in the murder, has been sentenced to 35 years in prison after also pleading guilty. Both men will be eligible for parole in about 20 years, according to the Travis County District Attorney’s Office.

On March 2, 2018 Nicolas’ father Theodore was shot dead in his Austin area home by an intruder. Investigators discovered the intruder was a hitman hired by Nicolas and his wife Jaclyn Edison, a Texas A&M University student. Travis County deputies searched the couple’s College Station home, vehicles and electronic devices, collecting evidence that connected them to the murder. According to a 2018 warrant, the couple was experiencing financial trouble in the months leading to the deadly home invasion.

Edison was also charged with soliciting to commit capital murder in 2018.

According to the district attorney’s office, the office was asked by the wife of the victim to be lenient.

“Our office takes violent crimes like this one, that make our community less safe, very seriously,” said Travis County District Attorney José Garza. “My deepest sympathies go out to the family of Theodore Shaughnessy for their loss.”

The district attorney’s office also said there is a third defendant in this case, but the case is still pending.

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