Couple were allegedly attempting to blackmail accused when they were killed in March 2020
A Texas automobile dealer is accused of hiring hitmen former soldiers to kill his mistress and her new boyfriend, who was trying to blackmail him.
According to an unsealed federal indictment, four men are charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, kidnapping resulting in death, and carrying, brandishing, and discharging a weapon during a crime of violence.
Erik Charles Maund, 46, of Austin, Texas, a partner in Maund Automotive Group, emailed Holly Williams, 33, of Nashville, Tennessee, with whom he had a previous extra-marital relationship, about wanting to see her during an upcoming visit to the city in February 2020.
After visiting her in Nashville, Mr Maund received a series of texts from William Lanway, 36, Ms Williams’ current boyfriend, threatening to expose their affair unless he was paid to stay silent.
Mr Maund allegedly enlisted the help of Gilad Peled, 47, of Austin, Texas, who held himself out to be a former member of the Israeli Defence Forces; Bryon Brockway, 46, also of Austin, a former active-duty US Marine who previously served in Force Recon, a Special Operations Capable unit; and Adam Carey, 30, of Richlands, North Carolina, also a former active duty marine who had previously served in the Special Operations Group.
Both Mr Peled and Mr Brockway owned private security firms in Austin, and the three were allegedly asked by Mr Maund to help deal with the extortion threat.
The indictment further alleges that on 5 March 2020, Mr Maund withdrew $15,000 from his bank account and on that same day an “intelligence report” was prepared and provided to Mr Peled by a relative of Mr Brockway who worked for an internet-based security company.
Mr Carey and others then reportedly travelled to Nashville to surveil Ms Williams and Mr Lanway, and established a Pinger account to attempt to communicate with them.
On 9 March 2020, Mr Peled is said to have received a document entitled “Tennessee Sitrep”, regarding the surveillance of Ms Williams, confirming her address and vehicle, and that Mr Lanway was staying with her.
He advised that Mr Carey and others would use everything at their disposal to stop the attempted extortion of Mr Maund. the indictment says.
Police say on 11 March 2020, Mr Brockway and Mr Carey confronted Ms Williams and Mr Lanway in the parking lot of her apartment complex in Nashville and shot Mr Lanway multiple times, killing him.
They allegedly then kidnapped Ms Williams and drove her and Mr Lanway’s body to a construction site, where they fatally shot her. They then discarded the bodies, deleted the Pinger account, and returned their rental car, police say.
A total of $750,000 was reportedly wired by Mr Maund to an account controlled by Mr Peled as payment for the kidnapping and murder of the couple.
On Friday, FBI agents and Metro Nashville Police detectives orchestrated the arrests of all four individuals across several states.
Mr Maund was arrested after a traffic stop near Austin, Texas; Mr Peled was arrested at the city’s airport; Mr Brockway was arrested in San Diego, California; and Mr Carey was arrested at his home in North Carolina.
They will appear before a US magistrate in the district in which they were taken into custody, before being returned to Tennessee to face the charges against them.
If convicted, they face up to life in prison.
“This investigation began with the discovery of two bodies inside a vehicle on Good Friday 2020,” said Nashville Police Chief John Drake in a statement.
“Realising this very complex case reached far outside of Nashville, our team enlisted the help of the FBI and the US Attorney’s Office. Our close relationship with our federal partners led to the indictment and arrest of the four individuals.”