A College Station man was arrested Wednesday in connection to a March slaying that left an Austin jeweler dead.
Johnny Roman Leon III, 21, was arrested in College Station by the Travis County Sheriff's Office.
Leon is the third person arrested in connection to the murder-for-hire plot that left Ted Shaughnessy dead from gunshot wounds in his Austin home. His son, Nicolas, and Nicolas' 19-year-old wife, Jaclyn Edison, both of College Station, also are charged in the case.
According to Travis County authorities, just before 5 a.m. March 2, Nicolas Shaughnessy's parents, 53-year-old Corey Shaughnessy and Theodore Shaughnessy, 55, were awoken in their Austin home by their dogs barking. Theodore Shaughnessy drew his handgun and went to the kitchen, where he was met with a burst of gunfire from two different weapons. He collapsed and died, and one of his dogs was shot and killed beside him.
Authorities say Corey Shaughnessy saw two shadowy figures in the bedroom and fired with her own handgun. She hid in a closet while the intruders fled the scene and was not injured.
Officials noted several things that piqued their interest during the investigation. First, no doors or windows had been broken or forced open, but the window of Nicolas Shaughnessy's childhood bedroom was open and the screen had been removed. No valuables had been removed, and Corey Shaughnessy told authorities the house is very dark at night and would be hard to navigate without already knowing the layout. Officials also noted more than one type of bullet casing was found throughout the home.
Representatives with a security company told law enforcement that the Shaughnessys' home burglary alarms had been remotely disabled from Nicolas Shaughnessy's computer in College Station just before the slaying and reactivated about an hour after Theodore Shaughnessy died. Video from the home's security cameras also had been manually deleted.
The warrant notes Nicolas Shaughnessy and Edison arrived at the Austin residence from College Station at around 8 a.m. March 2. Detectives noted that Nicolas Shaughnessy appeared to show no emotion nor concern for his mother, and while Edison appeared calm, she began "sobbing heavily" when told she would be tested for gunshot residue.
Three months later, Nicolas Shaughnessy and Edison were arrested. Law enforcement officials say Nicolas Shaughnessy may have been looking to receive $8 million from a combination of life insurance payouts and the sale of his parents' home and jewelry business. Authorities believe Leon participated in the planning of the crime.
Court documents from Leon's arrest state authorities spoke with a source who said Leon had approached him in late Febuary asking if he would like to make extra money by helping someone move. Initially, the source said, Leon and Nicolas Shaughnessy told him that people in Austin were costing them $30,000 per month, and they had gone to a house in Austin the previous two nights. The source told police that Nicolas Shaughnessy and Leon would not tell him what they wanted him to do but eventually said they needed two people to kill two others by shooting them, and possibly shooting some dogs if needed. The source said he was offered $2,500 to commit the crime, another $2,500 after it was done, and another $5,000 to be paid at a later date.
Authorities say the person said Leon had a gun and they would have access to another pistol that could be found in the elder Shaughnessys' home. As part of the plan, the group would leave College Station in Nicolas Shaughnessy's car between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. and arrive back in College Station around 5 or 6 a.m. The source also told police he was told to leave his cell phone at home during the trip, so it would appear he was at home sleeping.
A probable cause search through Nicolas Shaughnessy's cellphone records showed that for several weeks following the slaying, Leon tried calling him repeatedly, but Nicolas Shaughnessy did not answer. Another source told police about seeing a text on Nicolas Shaughnessy's phone in March in which the sender was demanding payment for something.
The second informant told authorities Nicolas Shaughnessy wanted to kill his parents and had met someone in a club who agreed to commit the crime. After his father's slaying, Nicolas Shaughnessy said he had not paid anyone yet. The source told police he had seen a threatening text sent to Nicolas Shaughnessy stating that someone knew where he lived and still needed to be paid.
Leon is charged with solicitation of capital murder, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 99 years in prison and $10,000 in fines. He is being held in the Travis County Jail on $3 million bond.
Nicolas Shaughnessy, who faces the same charge, remains in the Travis County Jail on $3 million bond. Edison was released on $1 million bond.