San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

October 17th, 2013
Update: Scorned ex-boyfriend killed couple, then self

The suspect:  Daniel Stillwell

The suspect:
Daniel Stillwell

The victims: Hailey Nicholls

The victims:
Hailey Nicholls

The victims: Jesse Robledo

The victims:
Jesse Robledo


5:29 p.m. Oct. 17: Daniel Stillwell killed himself by driving off the Devil’s Backbone, a winding, ridgetop ranch road in Comal County.

After killing his ex-girlfriend and her current lover, he apparently followed through on his plans to kill himself by driving off a cliff. After fleeing the murder scene in a Craddock Avenue apartment, Stillwell told a longtime friend over the phone that he did want to not live in a cage. He was found dead at about 1 p.m.

4:45 p.m. OCT. 17: The double homicide suspect’s roommate told police that Stillwell called him and confessed to killing his ex-girlfriend and her current lover, according to court documents.

Stillwell, who also lives in the same Craddock Avenue apartment complex as his former girlfriend, told roommate Daniel Trottier that he discovered Jesse Robledo’s vehicle parked outside Hailey Nicholls’ apartment, Det. Tommy Villanueva stated in an affidavit used to secure a search warrant.

Stillwell went back to his own apartment and took a handgun belonging to Trottier, the roommate told police. Stillwell found Robledo in bed upstairs and shot him, then turned the gun on Nicholls, according to the affidavit.

Stillwell told Trottier, his friend for 17 years, that he was going to kill himself by driving off a cliff. He said he did not want to live in a cage.


Investigators believe they have located a vehicle driven by Daniel Brewster Stillwell as he fled the scene of a double homicide early this morning, but they have not arrested the suspect, Chief Howard Williams said at a press conference this afternoon.

Stillwell’s ex-girlfriend, 22-year-old Hailey Nicholls, and her current boyfriend, 26-year-old Jesse Robledo were killed in an an apartment at 317 W. Craddock Ave.

Police received a phone call at about 12:30 a.m. Thursday about a disturbance the San Marcos Executive Townhomes. Officer Garner Ames and a trainee, Jesse Cantu, were the first to arrive on the scene, and went to the front door. Sgt. Erik Spriegel and officer Andrew Sparenberg arrived, as well, and went around back where they found a sliding glass door in the back smashed with the brick and the victims dead in an upstairs bedroom.

Stillwell and Nicholls were students at Texas State University. At one point, all three worked together at Chipotle on University Drive, police say.

Read more

» Probable Cause Affidavit for Daniel Brewster Stillwell by San Marcos Mercury [pdf]

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7 thoughts on “Update: Scorned ex-boyfriend killed couple, then self

  1. Wow, this happened in my brother’s girlfriend’s apartment. The girl who was killed was her roommate. Scariest part is that my brother and his girlfriend had left her apartment less than five minutes before this happened, in fact they saw Stillwell as he was walking in the parking lot. A lot can happen in five minutes.

  2. When you’re young, a bad breakup feels like the end of the world.

    Add a gun to that mix and there’s a much better chance it will be.

    I’m not anti-gun. It’s not the gun’s fault these kids are dead. But you have to wonder if they’d all still be alive today had that young man not been able to grab a gun immediately after seeing the new boyfriend’s car in the parking lot.

    Just so incredibly tragic. What a waste of three lives and what a loss for so many more.

  3. Was there an end to this story? What was Stillwell’s official cause of death? Was there a funeral for him and for his victims? Have the police completed the investigation?

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