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June 3, 2015

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Homeless man carried out contract killing for Las Vegas firefighter, police say

George Tiaffay

George Tiaffay

Noel Stevens

Noel Stevens

A Las Vegas firefighter paid a homeless man to kill his estranged wife, then tried to commit suicide when suspicion turned toward him, according to an arrest report released Thursday.

A tip from a “concerned citizen” led to the arrests of the victim’s husband, 40-year-old George Tiaffay, and his alleged accomplice, 37-year-old Noel Stevens. The pair plotted and carried out a plan to kill 46-year-old Shauna Tiaffay, a mother and cocktail waitress at the Palms, according to the report.

George Tiaffay and Stevens remain in the Clark County Detention Center without bail, jailed on an assortment of counts, including the use of a deadly weapon to commit murder, robbery and burglary.

George Tiaffay has been employed as a firefighter for Las Vegas Fire & Rescue since October 2002, city spokesman Jace Radke said. George Tiaffay remains employed, although, without elaborating, Radke said “that could possibly change.”

The following details are from the arrest report, which described Metro Police investigators’ chain of events leading to the pair’s arrests:

George Tiaffay, who was separated from his wife, called 911 the morning of Sept. 29 to report her death. George Tiaffay told dispatchers he walked into the victim’s apartment with their 8-year-old daughter and found the body.

Responding medical personnel declared Shauna Tiaffay dead and observed injuries consistent with foul play. The Clark County Coroner’s Office ruled her death a homicide, caused by multiple blunt-force injuries.

George Tiaffay said he had been working as a firefighter for a 24-hour period that ended shortly before he discovered his wife’s body. He said he had gone to his wife’s place at the WillowBrook Apartments, 2601 S. Pavilion Center Drive, with their daughter to retrieve some of the girl’s belongings.

Police learned Shauna Tiaffay had worked at the Palms until 3 a.m. the day her body was found, but a neighbor reported hearing a “thud” come from her apartment between 3:30 and 4 a.m. Another neighbor contacted police after finding Shauna Tiaffay’s personal belongings — a cell phone, health card and cosmetics — strewn along a dirt path bordering the WillowBrook community.

By the next day, Sept. 30, a lawyer for George Tiaffay called detectives and asked that any communication go through him. Meanwhile, an unidentified “concerned citizen” contacted police and said a friend of his had committed a murder in the Summerlin area.

The caller said his friend, known as “Greyhound,” had been paid an initial $600 for killing a woman by attacking her with a hammer. A husband who wanted his wife dead had convinced “Greyhound” to perform the slaying for money.

The caller helped police find “Greyhound,” later identified as Stevens, outside a Summerlin gas station. When detectives interviewed Stevens, he admitted knowing George Tiaffay, saying he had previously done handiwork for him, but denied any involvement in the slaying.

Police arrested Stevens in connection with possessing a controlled substance with intent to sell.

When detectives executed a search warrant Oct. 2 at Stevens’ campsite, located in a desert area on the far west end of Charleston Boulevard, they found several items reported stolen from Shauna Tiaffay’s apartment during a separate Sept. 4 burglary.

In the process, detectives learned Stevens had multiple arrests for burglaries and possession of stolen property, including an arrest Sept. 17 for possession of burglary tools.

Two days later, on Oct. 4, detectives found Stevens’ second campsite west of Town Center Drive and south of Tropicana Avenue. Nearby, they found pair of jeans with bloodstains.

Tests confirmed the blood on the jeans matched the homicide victim.

Detectives then pulled cell phone records for George Tiaffay and Stevens. The records showed that George Tiaffay had called Stevens 86 times during September, including several the day before his wife’s death and one the day of the death.

Detectives believe Stevens called George Tiaffay from a gas station phone Sept. 30, possibly to arrange for the rest of the payment.

The planned meeting, however, never occurred because that’s the day detectives made contact with Stevens.

As the investigation progressed, detectives found evidence Tiaffay had gone to a Lowe’s and made a copy of his wife’s apartment key, which he later gave to Stevens.

On Oct. 8, detectives informed George Tiaffay’s mother and sister that he was being investigated for planning his wife’s slaying. Shortly afterward, George Tiaffay drove his truck 76 mph into a retaining wall at the end of Summerlin Parkway and the Las Vegas Beltway, an apparent suicide attempt.

George Tiaffay survived and detectives arrested him two days later, on Oct. 10, at University Medical Center.

George Tiaffay replied “OK” when detectives told him he was being arrested. He then asked to call his attorney, take a shower and brush his teeth.

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