San Marcos police: Man who killed ex-girlfriend in double homicide found dead

News Editor

The suspect in the double homicide of a Texas State student and her boyfriend was found dead around 1 p.m. Thursday.

Daniel Stillwell, 23, was found dead near Highway 32 after he drove his car over a cliff near "Devil’s Backbone" in Comal County, according to San Marcos Police Chief Howard Williams.

Stillwell was wanted for two murders that occurred at approximately 12:38 a.m. Thursday in an apartment complex on the 300 block of Craddock Avenue. According to the arrest warrant for capital murder, Stillwell allegedly shot his ex-girlfriend, fashion merchandising senior Hailey Nicholls, 22, and her current boyfriend, 26-year-old Jesse Robledo. Williams said while Stillwell has not been arrested, officers believe they know where he is located.

“We have not been in contact with Mr. Stillwell,” Williams said. “Other people have and we’ve been in contact with them.”

Williams said Stillwell, a former Texas State student, was not a danger at this point in time. Williams said he did not know if Stillwell was currently enrolled at the university.

Police responded to two separate disturbance calls around 12:38 a.m. Thursday at Executive Townhomes apartment complex at 317 Craddock Ave., according to the warrant. Neighbors reported yelling, screaming and “what sounded like someone being thrown against the wall,” as well as possible gunshots coming from within the apartment, the warrant says.

Officers found the back sliding glass door shattered after receiving no answer at the front door. Nicholls was found in the bedroom with a possible gunshot wound to the head, according to the warrant. Robledo, who was on the bed, appeared to have the same wound. Both victims were dead when the officers arrived, Williams said.

Stillwell’s roommate, Daniel Trottier, told police the suspect had called him around 1 a.m. Stillwell told Trottier he saw Robledo’s car outside of Nicholls’ apartment, according to the arrest warrant.

Stillwell went to his apartment, took Trottier’s firearm and broke into Nicholls’ apartment, the warrant says. Trottier described his handgun as a Glock 9mm pistol, according to the search warrant for Trottier and Stillwell’s apartment, also located at Executive Townhomes.

Williams said police have not located the murder weapon.

Both of the victims and the suspect worked together at Chipotle Mexican Grill in San Marcos, Williams said. Police believe Nicholls and Stillwell had recently broken up, he said.

Sarah Wolfshohl, fashion merchandising junior, said she had known Nicholls for two years and met her through taking classes together.

Wolfshohl said Nicholls and Stillwell had broken up last week, and Nicholls had been trying to leave the relationship for some time. Wolfshohl said Stillwell was controlling and would not let Nicholls leave the relationship.

“I never thought he was capable of taking it to that point,” Wolfshohl said.

Wolfshohl said she did not think Stillwell was abusive, but he would become “very intense” and wouldn’t let Nicholls go out.

Nicholls was easy going, friendly and very close with her family, including her twin sister, Wolfshohl said.

“She was the funniest person I have ever known,” Wolfshohl said.

Murders such as Nicholls’ and Robledo’s are a rare occurrence in San Marcos, Williams said.

“I have been here 10 years now and this is the first time we’ve had a double murder in that sort of condition,” Williams said.

Joanne Smith, vice president of Student Affairs, said she could not say much about the case since the San Marcos Police Department’s investigation was ongoing. She said the university is working with the police and is doing “anything we can do to help students” who are surrounding the incident.

Kathlyn Dailey, interim director of the Counseling Center, said the center is providing grief counseling to friends of the victims. Students can call or visit the center if they need counseling, she said.