Nashville couple's murder uncovers dark conspiracy, payoffs across the country
"20/20" explores the March 2020 killings of Holly Williams and Bill Lanway.
On March 13, 2020, Nashville Metro police received a 911 call made by a construction worker who saw a white Acura that hit a tree.
Inside the vehicle were the bodies of Holly Williams and Bill Lanway, an esthetician and a mechanic respectively, who were shot several times, according to investigators.
The three-year investigation into their murders would uncover a whole host of secrets, including an illicit affair and a conspiracy.
"This was like a scene out of a movie," Metro Nashville PD Det. Patrick Cuthbertson, one of the case's investigators, said.
"20/20" will explore the case in an episode airing Friday, Feb. 9, at 9 p.m. ET and streaming on Hulu the next day, featuring exclusive interviews with the people who investigated the murders and brought those responsible to justice.
Friends of Williams told "20/20" that they thought the relationship between the couple was toxic. Williams installed security cameras in her apartment because of reported domestic disputes with Lanway.
Investigators sought out the security footage from around the time the couple's bodies were found.
Det. David Willover, of the Metro Nashville PD who investigated the case, told "20/20" that his team caught a break when they saw footage of men approaching Williams' apartment door earlier in March 2020, before the murders.
"They're doing things to hide their identity," he said.
Indoor cameras showed Williams pacing through her home and bolstering the door in the event the men outside tried to get in.
Investigators looked more into Williams' background and found out she moonlighted as an escort with the name "Layla Love."
With no leads from the footage of the mysterious men seen on the surveillance video, investigators next turned to the couple's phone records. They noticed one number that was found in both of their records, which was a Voice Over IP (VOIP) telephone phone number.
Those numbers are sometimes used to hide the caller's identity but they leave a trail of computer code IP addresses that can be examined, Willover said.
Investigators eventually matched that particular phone number to Adam Carey, a former Marine with special ops training and a criminal record who was living in North Carolina and working in private security.
Carey's driver's license photo matched the face of one of the men captured on Williams' cameras, according to Willover.
It was a huge break in the case, as was the discovery in early 2021 of something called a "Tennessee Sit Rep." Sit Rep refers to the military term 'Situation Report' for what is happening on the ground.
"It illustrated there were people who were getting paid to be in Nashville to look for Holly and William," Robert McGuire, the assistant U.S. Attorney in Nashville who ultimately prosecuted the case, told "20/20."
Investigators determined someone named Bryon Brockway, also a former Marine, had written that Situation Report. Investigators also identified other suspects who were working together in some kind of plot.
Most critically, they learned about Erik Maund; a wealthy owner of Austin car dealership Maund Toyota, who investigators would later learn was at the center of everything.
Maund had hired Williams as an escort whom he knew only as "Layla Love" in early 2020 when he visited his son in Nashville, investigators said.
Through Maund, investigators also begin probing Gilad Peled, an Israeli national who had a private security firm and was doing consulting work for the dealership to handle a problem of homeless people on the lot.
Maund received a mysterious text on March 1, 2020, in which the sender demanded $25,000 or threatened he would reveal that Maund had used that escort.
According to investigators, Maund asked Peled for help to find out who sent the text and who was the real person he knew as "Layla Love."
Peled asked Bryon Brockway's brother Chad, who had his own security firm, to do research on her. Chad Brockway told "20/20" that Peled lied to him and said he had been hired by a Nashville family whose missing daughter may have been sex trafficked.
"We learned her real name. We issued our report, and then that was the end of it," he said.
Using information from his brother, Bryon Brockway hired Carey and two other men to go to Nashville. They were recorded on Holly's home security cameras on at least three occasions trying to make contact with her.
They were able to determine that Lanway was behind the extortion. On March 11, Lanway phoned Maund at his home. Maund, whose family is one of the most well known in Austin, was terrified that his wife could have answered the phone, according to investigators.
Bryon Brockway had arrived in Nashville before that call and joined Carey.
Brockway told Peled on March 11 that he and Carey could murder Lanway and Williams for $60,000 each, according to investigators. According to Gil Peled, Maund OKed the plan after hearing Brockway's offer, investigators said.
At this point the two "operatives" who were with Carey during those initial visits to Williams' apartment had left Nashville and were unaware of the murder-for-hire plot, investigators said.
On March 12, 2020, Williams' doorway security camera captured her and Lanway walking out of the apartment.
Investigators said Brockway and Carey ambushed the couple and shot Lanway first followed by Williams. Audio from the security video captured the sounds of gunshots and a man and woman screaming.
Because the case involved multiple states, the FBI was called in to assist in June 2020. They eventually enlisted the help of one of the two "operatives" who initially knocked on Williams' door with Carey but had not been aware of or involved in the murder-for-hire plot. He agreed to wear a recording device while he spoke with Carey and Brockway.
The undercover operative talked with both suspects asking about a possible made-up hit job.
In one of the recorded conversations, Brockway revealed details that led investigators to believe he was involved in the murders.
On Dec. 10, 2021, the FBI executed near-simultaneous arrests of Brockway, Carey, and Peled. Then investigators asked Gilad Peled to make a phone call to Maund in order to gain the last bit of evidence needed for his arrest.
FBI Special Agent David Som said that Peled agreed to work with the FBI and called Maund under the guise that one of the "operatives" in the murder scheme demanded more money. In the recorded call, Maund made several statements that confirmed for investigators that he had knowledge of the murders. After the call ended, Maund was arrested almost immediately.
They were all charged in federal court with several criminal counts in connection with the murder-for-hire plot.
Peled would later plead guilty to murder for hire, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, and kidnapping resulting in death, and agreed to testify against the other defendants.
Following a 14-day trial, the jury deliberated for seven hours, and on Nov. 17, 2023, they found Brockway and Carey guilty of murder-for-hire resulting in death, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, and kidnapping resulting in death.
The jury found Maund guilty of conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire but not guilty of kidnapping resulting in death.
Attorneys for Maund sent a statement to "20/20" which read in part, "Erik Maund is not guilty of the charges in the indictment. Mr. Maund and counsel intend to pursue appeals on the remaining charge for which the jury returned a guilty verdict."
Attorneys for Carey and Brockway declined to comment.
Det. Cuthbertson said while there was relief that investigators were able to bring the perpetrators justice, there was still no way to fill the void left by the murders.
"The families… didn't deserve this tragedy and this trauma for both of their loved ones, being killed, the way they were killed," he said.
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