Friday’s episode of NBC’s ‘Dateline’ centers on the shocking murder of an Austin jeweler and the mastermind behind his death, the person his family least suspected: his own son.
The episode will feature interviews with Corey Shaughnessy, whose husband, Ted, was murdered after their son, Nicolas, hired a hitman to kill them both for insurance money. In a preview for Friday’s episode, “Dateline” host Andrea Canning asked Corey how she could “wrap her brain” around the case.
“You don’t,” Corey said, shaking her head. “You just don’t.”
Who was Ted Shaughnessy?
Ted Shaughnessy was a successful businessman in Austin, Texas, the owner of Gallerie Jewelers. In a preview for Friday’s episode of “Dateline,” friends remembered Ted as a kind, friendly, hardworking person who loved cars, cooking and his family.
“He was just very effusive, and just easy to be around, and very engaging,” Tad Cole, Ted’s best friend, told Dateline.
What happened to Ted and Corey Shaughnessy?
Late in the night of March 2, 2018, Ted and Corey Shaughnessy awoke to the sounds of intruders in their Austin home, per Fox 7. Ted grabbed a gun and went to confront the men but was shot dead in the hallway, so Corey grabbed her own gun and returned fire on the intruders before hiding in a closet and calling 911.
Police determined the intruders had entered the home through an open window in the old bedroom of the Shaughnessy’s son, Nicolas, who was living nearby with his wife in College Station. They also found Nicolas’s cell phone had been used to disarm the house’s alarm system.
How did police catch Ted Shaughnessy’s killer?
After Ted’s murder, Nicolas and his wife, Jaclyn Edison, moved in to the Shaughnessy’s home. Per the Austin American-Statesman, Corey had no reason to believe Nicolas had anything to do with his father’s death and maintained her hope in his innocence even after police began investigating him.
However, detectives were able to follow Nicolas’s trail. Within a few months, they determined he and his wife had hired two hitmen to carry out the attack so they could cash in on the Shaughnessys’ life insurance, per FOX 7. The couple and the intruders, Arieon Smith and Johnny Leon, were arrested and charged with their corresponding roles in the murder, per Fox News.
According to the Austin American-Statesman, Corey spoke at a court hearing for Leon in 2021 and shared the betrayal she felt at the murder.
“Not me, my husband, anyone in our family or any of our friends could have ever imagined that Nicolas and Jackie would want to have us murdered,” she said.
Smith, Leon and Nicolas Shaughnessy were each sentenced to 35 years in prison, while Edison received 10 years probation, per Fox News.
How to watch tonight’s ‘Dateline’
Friday’s episode of “Dateline,” titled “Ghosts Can’t Talk,” will air on NBC at 9 p.m. MST and will be available for streaming on NBC’s website and Peacock the next day.