Austin car dealer murder-for-hire suspect caught after he wrote a positive internet review for one of the alleged hitmen
Erik Charles Maund of Maund Automotive Group, who was arrested this week after allegedly hiring a contract killer to murder his ex-girlfriend and her former boyfriend, left a positive review for the business of one of the men that was hired just days before he was caught.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Maund, who is married, reached out to his ex, 33-year-old Holly Williams, about visiting on his upcoming trip to Nashville in February 2020. Upon hearing of the messages, Williams’ estranged boyfriend, 36-year-old William Lanway, allegedly messaged Maund asking for hush money and threatening to expose the relationship if it wasn’t received. A month later on March 12, 2020, Williams and Lanway were found dead at a Nashville construction site in a white 2005 Acura.
Maund allegedly hired three men to see the crime through: 47-year-old Gilad Peled, owner of Austin-based Speartip Security Services, 46-year-old Bryon Brockway and North Carolina native Adam Carey. Since the killings, both someone by the name of "Erik Maund" and Bryon Brockway left five-star reviews for Speartip.
Both reviews are still up on the security provider's Google page. Maund has since been charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, kidnapping resulting in death; carrying, brandishing and discharging a firearm in relation to a crime of violence.
Peled, a former member of the Israeli Defense Forces, advertised helping clients respond to threats of extortion, armed guard protection, VIP and executive protection, armored vehicle services and special event security. Brockway and Carey were both former special operations U.S. Marines.
According to the DOJ, Maund took $15,000 out of his account at the same time an “intelligence report” was delivered to Peled, and Carey and Brockway headed to Nashville to get eyes on the couple. After an alleged promise from Peled to stop the extortion, the indictment said Maund wired $750,000 to an account owned by Peled.
Lanway had a criminal history
After reaching out to Williams during his Nashville trip, Maund was contacted by Lanway threatening to expose his affair if he didn't send cash on March 1, 2020. Lanway and Williams had an abusive relationship—court records show that Williams had called the police on Lanway at least three times in the year prior to their deaths.
Lanway was charged with domestic assault and vandalism in April 2019 after hitting Williams and damaging her car, reportedly tried to strangle her in January 2020 for which he was charged with aggravated assault by strangulation with intent to kill and false imprisonment. Just four days later, Williams called the police on Lanway for kidnapping and killing her dog. He was charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty.
On March 9, Carey and Brockway reported that they learned where the couple lived and their usual routes. Nashville Police said three men were captured on video outside the couples’ apartment a few days before their deaths.
Despite the inter-relationship issues, Lanway and Williams were confronted together by Carey and Brockway outside his apartment complex on March 11, 2020. According to the indictment, Lanway was shot multiple times and killed in the parking lot.
The indictment states that Williams was kidnapped, taking along Lanway's body, and killed off a road near a construction lot.
(Nashville Police Department)
The defendants face life in prison
The arrest affidavit states that Lanway and Williams were both shot in the head, dropped at the construction site and discovered by a worker on the morning of March 13, 2020.
After the positive reviews were left on Speartip Security Services on Dec. 7, all four men were arrested.
Peled and Brockway received the same charges as Maund, arrested at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and San Diego, respectively. Carey was arrested at his out-of-state home.
Maund Automotive Group representatives have not said whether or not Maund is still involved with the company. Maund’s attorneys, Perry Minton and Sam Bassett, said in a statement on 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."
The defendants face up to life in prison in the event they are convicted.
Federal prosecutors are asking that Maund not be released on bond, with documents showing he is a flight risk and could “attempt to obstruct justice.” According to KVUE reporter Tony Plohetski, a hearing is set for Thursday.
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The original Z’Tejas location on West 6th Street is closing its doors after more than 30 years on the lot to make way for new development.
Z'Tejas owner Randy Cohen told Austonia the restaurant will be open at least through the end of 2022, possibly through March 2023.
Cohen said the owners—Larry McGuire of McGuire Moorman Lambert Hospitality—of the land have something new planned, though he’s not exactly sure what. Additionally, Cohen said maintenance costs for the old building were becoming prohibitively expensive.
“I think the people who own the dirt will tear it all down and build condos or some other development,” Cohen said. “I mean, it's a 60-year-old building, Z'Tejas has been here for 33 years and before that, it was something else. So it's just progress, that's all."
The restaurant isn’t going away though—Cohen said Z’Tejas is already looking for a new spot in the downtown area to move into. Z’Tejas also has a location in Avery Ranch, another in the works for Kyle and two in Arizona.
“We have all our ducks in a row right now and the management team is all rowing in the right direction,” Cohen said. “We're just excited, we're excited to build this iconic brand back.”
Once he finds a new place, Cohen plans to bring along its mural, “The Last Zupper,” which features Willie Nelson, Matthew McConaughey and Barbara Jordan. Cohen also plans for the adjoining ghost kitchen, Woo Woo Burgers, to follow to the new downtown location.
“We're still booking events through the end of December,” Cohen said. “Come ‘Z' me at Z’Tejas, we'd love to see you before we’re gone.”
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Two towers could be coming just south of the Austin American-Statesman’s former headquarters in the South Central Waterfront district.
According to city filings, the proposed planned unit development agreement is set for 200 East Riverside Drive, an area Project Connect’s Blue Line is slated to pass by someday.
Carrying this out involves removing the existing building, which is a state office complex and surface parking.
The new towers in place would reach just over 400 feet at their maximum and include office space and space for retail on the ground level. The mix of office and retail is a trend that’s been cropping up in downtown sites like the Perennial and the Meta tower.
The proposal on a plot of about four acres aims to incorporate green infrastructure and create a lively environment for pedestrians. It’d also be adjacent to the 118-acres of the South Central Waterfront Initiative, which is aimed at enhancing connections to and along the waterfront over the next couple of decades.
The filing lists architects STG Design, a group involved with work on the sailboat-like Google tower.
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