Attorney explains how Nicolas Shaughnessy’s jailhouse interview could impact his parole

During an exclusive interview with FOX 7, Nicolas Shaughnessy admitted to hiring a hit man to kill his parents. The Austin man was sentenced to 35 years in prison but is eligible for parole in less than 20 years.

"I'm not going to play a victim card. I most certainly played my role and I wholeheartedly regret it," Shaughnessy said.

In 2021, Shaughnessy pleaded guilty to murder for the death of his father in 2018.

"At the end of the day, he pled guilty to the offense anyway," Criminal Defense Attorney Gene Anthes said. "A lot of time what parole voters are looking for though is an admission to the underlying offense."

Shaughnessy was sentenced to 35 years in prison.

"The road of ‘what if’ is inevitable. But as time progresses, I focus on the future, not the past," Shaughnessy said.

Shaughnessy is eligible for parole after serving about 17.5 years in prison.

"He hasn't really done a lot of time in prison. I think they're going to look at more towards the end of his sentence of towards when he's when he's up for review. What kind of statements, what kind of person is he at that point in time, and how is he matured? Is he still a danger, that kind of stuff. But initially, I don't think it's going to hurt him with the statement that he said, the interview that he gave to you."

When the time comes, at least three parole voters will review Shaughnessy’s case. Anthes said the parole voters will go over the facts of the case and what he does with his time in prison. Shaughnessy said he’s working on his associate degree.


"If this were my client, I’d be telling them you need to work on taking advantage of any kind of classes that you can get, any advanced degrees that you can," Anthes said.

He also suggested staying out of trouble.

"What the parole board will look at, how many disciplinary issues that you've had, what degrees that you've done," Anthes said.

Anthes said it’s rare for someone to be released the first time they’re eligible for parole in a case like this.

Anthes said if a parole lawyer is hired, supporters of the convicted person can advocate for them to be released. At the same time, victims and even judges can protest the person’s release.