What we know about the case of a murder-for-hire plot allegedly involving Erik Charles Maund
An indictment alleges Maund had an ongoing relationship with the woman and that her estranged boyfriend had demanded money from Maund before their deaths. Nate Chute, Austin American-Statesman
Editor’s note: A story about the indictment of Austin businessman Erik Charles Maund had an incorrect name for a firm contacted to respond to an alleged extortion scheme. The Austin firm is Speartip Security Group.
A prominent Austin businessman, described by investigators as a partner in his family’s Maund Auto Group, has been indicted in the contract killings of his ex-girlfriend and her former boyfriend, federal prosecutors allege.
According to investigators, Erik Charles Maund hired an Austin security specialist and two other men — a purported member of the Israeli Defense Forces and a special operations U.S. Marine — to shoot the pair. The motive, investigators say: The former boyfriend called Maund, who is married, to extort him by threatening to expose the affair.
The price for silence: more than $750,000 for the March 2020 hits, the federal indictment unsealed Monday said.
The bodies of Holly A. Williams, 33, and William L. Lanway, 36, were discovered in March 2020 in a white 2005 Acura at a Nashville, Tenn., construction site, according to authorities and published reports. At the time, Nashville police said they were looking for three men who were seen outside Williams’ apartment — and captured on camera — a few days before the homicides.
Who was involved? An Austin businessman and an estranged Nashville couple: Who is accused of doing what in this case?
Representatives for the Maund Automotive Group did not immediately have a comment Monday. It was unclear whether Maund remained part of the company. His grandfather started the Central Texas automotive chain, which includes Volkswagen and Toyota dealerships.
Attorneys Perry Minton and Sam Bassett represent Maund and said in a statement Monday: “We have spoken to Mr. Maund only briefly on the matter. We will understand more in the coming days and weeks. The entire Maund family loves and supports their son.”
According to the indictment, Maund traveled frequently to Nashville to see what FBI agents described as a family member. In February 2020, he emailed Williams to alert her he would be in Nashville again and wanted to see her.
While staying at a downtown hotel, he texted her Feb. 5 from a phone number linked to his company: “Good morning beautiful! Looking forward to later today. I’m in Nashville. I will meet you in the bar like last time. Text when you arrive,” according to the indictment.
About three weeks later, Maund received a text message from Lanway, who said he wanted money or he would expose the affair with Williams, investigators said. The document did not say how much money Lanway demanded.
After the text message, Maund “set events in motion to kidnap, threaten and intimidate (Williams and Lanway) in retaliation,” the indictment said.
He contacted Gilad Peled, who operated the Austin-based firm Speartip Security Group, which the indictment said specialized in “responding to extortion demands.” Peled held himself out to be a former member of the Israeli Defense Forces.
The indictment said two other men, Bryon Brockway and Adam Carey, joined the plot but did not describe how they were associated with Maund. But it added that Maund hired them either “directly or indirectly.”
According to federal investigators, Maund withdrew $15,000 from his bank account the same day an “intelligence report” was prepared and given to Peled by a relative of Brockway’s who worked for a security company.
On March 9, 2020, Peled received a document stating that Carey and others had surveilled Williams and “would use everything at their disposal to stop the attempted extortion of Maund,” federal officials said.
Federal officials said they tracked money flowing from Maund to Peled “as payment to Peled, Broadway, and Carey for the kidnapping and murder.”
According to the indictment, Brockway and Carey confronted Williams and Lanway in the parking lot of their apartment complex and kidnapped them. Landway died first, shot in the head, and the pair then shot Williams, also in the head, the indictment says.
Maund then completed the payments for the contract killings, prosecutors said.
Investigators said that this weekend police in Austin pulled over Maund during a traffic stop and arrested him for the killings. Authorities apprehended Peled at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, Brockway was arrested in San Diego, and Carey was arrested at his home in North Carolina.
The men remained in federal custody Monday. They face up to life in prison if convicted.