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Wealthy car dealer paid ex-IDF, Marines to kill escort, blackmailer over threats they'd expose sex trysts

The heir to a lucrative car franchise tried to cover up an affair and fight off extortion until the situation spiraled into a murder-for-hire plot involving former military personnel.

A married Texas businessman and father of two was entangled with a Nashville, Tennessee, escort and then blackmailed by her on-and-off-again lover.

Erik Charles Maund, the heir to a lucrative Austin-based car company, received anonymous, threatening texts about a month after his extramarital escapade with 33-year-old Holly Williams, demanding $25,000.

Over the next 11 days, the situation spiraled out of control. Maund's privately funded investigation into who sent the extortion demands became a murder-for-hire plot involving a retired Israeli Defense Force (IDF) member and two retired U.S. Marines.

On March 12, 2020, a day after Maund was supposed to pay up, Williams and her then-boyfriend William Lanway, who sent the blackmail texts, were found dead in a Nashville construction site with bullet holes in their heads.

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Three years later, a federal jury found Maund guilty of orchestrating their murders after an 11-day trial. Maund's lawyer did not return Fox News Digital's request for comment.

The former Marines – Bryon Brockway and Adam Carey – were also convicted on Nov. 17 for their roles in the conspiracy. Former IDF member Gilad Peled pleaded guilty before the trial and became the prosecution's star witness. 

Peled's lawyers declined to comment before sentencing, and Brockway's and Carey's lawyers didn't return Fox News Digital's request for comment.

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"This investigation began with the discovery of two murder victims, Holly Williams and William Lanway, inside a vehicle off a construction road in West Nashville on Good Friday 2020," Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake said in a statement after the conviction. 

"Months of outstanding investigative work … provided multiple leads that drew our attention to other states. Realizing that this elaborate criminal case reached far outside of Nashville, our team enlisted the help of the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office."

Maund, Brockway and Carey each face life in prison or the death penalty and will be sentenced separately in 2024. The judge will take Peled's cooperation into account when handing down his sentence.

Maund texted Williams that he was "looking forward" to seeing her when he reached Nashville in February 2020, according to court documents reviewed by Fox News Digital.

"Good day beautiful! Looking forward too [sic] later. I’m in Nashville. I’ll meet you in the bar like last time. Text me when you arrive," he texted the escort on Feb. 5, 2020, the federal indictment says.

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Maund told his wife he was visiting their son in college, Peled said, according to the transcript of his testimony. 

The two hooked up about a year earlier, according to court documents. Early February 2020 was round two. 

When the calendar turned to March, the threatening texts started.

Lanway "sent a series of texts" on March 1, 2020, demanding "monetary payment" or he was going to expose Maund's relations with Williams, the indictment says.

The texts came from Williams' phone, and Maund did not know the sender at the time.

The next morning, Maund called Peled and agreed to pay him $60,000 to "start an investigation" into who was sending the texts.

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"He told me that he went to visit his son in Nashville, Tennessee, where he goes to college, and while he was there, he was using escort services," Peled testified, according to the transcripts. 

"When he came back he got a text message – a text message that was demanding money … and if he would not pay them, they will contact his family and out the fact that he was using escort services."

Peled said there were not any discussions about killing Lanway or Williams; it was an investigation into who sent the texts. Peled then told Maund that he wanted to bring the case to law enforcement. 

The prosecutor asked what Maund's reaction was. 

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"He was reluctant (to go to the police)," Peled said, according to the transcript. "He didn't want information to come out, says it's going to hurt his marriage. 

"He didn't want his kids to know about it. He said it's going to devastate him if his kids are going to find out."

From there, Peled recruited a family friend, Brockway, who introduced Carey into the fold. Both are retired Marines. 

They set up a team, including Peled, to go from Austin, Texas, to Nashville to trail and surveil Williams and Lanway while providing daily updates to Maund through an encrypted communication app, Peled testified.

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They did not have any success making contact with their targets after 10 days, according to Peled's testimony, and Lanway "freaked out" when Lanway called Maund's home during that time.

Lanway set a deadline of 8 p.m., March 11, 2020, to deliver the $25,000, Peled testified.

The mission hit wall after wall. Peled described a panicking Maund, and Brockway went to Nashville himself "to solve the problem."

"What was (Brockway's) proposal?" the prosecutor asked Peled. 

"He proposed to, in his words, to take Mr. Lanway out," Peled testified. 

He said that he expected Maund to reject the idea, but instead Maund "jumped on the offer."

Peled said Brockway was "shocked" when Maund agreed, according to the transcript. 

After negotiating prices, Maund agreed to pay $100,000 each to Brockway and Carey. He also paid $550,000 to Peled, according to court documents. 

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Peled testified that overnight March 12 and 13, Brockway told him to "get rid of your phone." The prosecutor asked him what that meant.

"I understood that they killed them," Peled answered, according to the transcript.

Brockway fatally shot Lanway in the parking lot of Williams' apartment complex, and Carey killed Williams after driving to the construction site, court documents say. 

That was where they left their bodies. 

After an 11-day jury trial, Maund was found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire. The jury cleared him of kidnapping-related charges.

Carey and Brockway each were convicted of conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire, kidnapping resulting in death and conspiracy to commit kidnapping.

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Each defendant faces mandatory life in prison or the death penalty. 

"We are committed to aggressively prosecuting violent crime in Middle Tennessee, and I am very pleased that the men responsible for these murders have finally been held accountable for their deplorable actions," U.S. Attorney Henry Leventis said in a statement.

Williams was working as a medical esthetician when she was killed. Friends and family told The Tennessean that she will be remembered as sweet and trusting.

"She was really good at what she did in medical esthetics," her friend and fellow esthetician Marie Carroll told The Tennessean in December 2021

"If you met her, she looked like a Kardashian and you didn’t know what to expect. But then she made you feel just involved immediately. She was very humble and like really quiet but just sweet."

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Lanway reportedly grew up in a household of violence and lived a difficult life. 

When he was a child, his father held him hostage at gunpoint. A week later, his father fatally stabbed his mother, The Tennessean reported. 

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He married and had a daughter, who was described as "the light of his life," according to the local newspaper, but she died at the age of 5 from brain cancer. 

Lanway and Williams' relationship was volatile, friends and family told The Tennessean, which reported she called the police on him at least three times the year that she died.

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