Man accused of killing retired Austin attorney arrested in New Orleans

UPDATE: The Travis County Sheriff's Office has announced that James Short's missing Chevy Suburban has been found in Louisiana. The investigation into the 74-year-old retired attorney's death is still ongoing. 





A man accused of killing a retired Austin attorney was arrested in New Orleans Wednesday. Travis County Sheriff’s said they found the body of 74-year-old James Short, Friday April 7th in his Southwest Austin home and 24-year-old Justin Nickolas Twyne was arrested for his murder.


Surveillance pictures captured Twyne at an Austin Walmart the day before Short was killed. Court documents said a Walmart receipt found in Short’s pocket is what led them to look for at surveillance.

Pictures were released of just Twyne and a tip helped investigators identify him. 

Capt. Craig Smith with the Travis County Sheriff's Office said in the surveillance video investigators also saw Short with Twyne on the shopping trip. Short was found dead in his home on Rockwood Circle, just off of Highway-290 with obvious trauma to his body, and a stab wound

Court documents said investigators found a backpack with Twyne's belongings, and a bloody knife on a bed with his fingerprints at the scene. The New Orleans Police Department said they also found evidence in Twyne’s hotel room linking him back to the murder.

Read Suspect arrested in murder of retired Austin attorney

Capt. Smith said they are still trying to figure out the relationship between the two. “Right now we don't have any type of relationship other than acquaintances, appears to be just friends,” he said.

In the arrest affidavit, it said James' cell phone had been found and days prior to his death, there were several text messages between Short and James, and they talked about meeting at his house.

Capt. Smith said they are not sure yet why Twyne was even in Austin.

Read TCSO searching for person of interest in death of Austin defense attorney

“I don't know that we've identified any ties here just yet, he appears to be somewhat transient, he seems to have history in many different states,” he said.

But now that they have a suspect in custody, Capt. Smith said the next step is to find out why this happened.

“That will be our part of the investigation from this point forward is trying to figure out motive right now our first part is collecting evidence to try and identify a suspect and make that arrest and now we will be following up on motives.” Capt. Smith said they still have not found a missing vehicle that belonged to Short. It is a 1999 tan Chevy Suburban with the Texas license plate DRW3438.

Twyne is also wanted on an arrest warrant in Georgia.

Capt. Smith said he will be extradited to Travis County first based on the severity of the crime his charged with.

Twyne has been charged with 1st degree murder, his bond is set at $500,000.

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