Shauna Taffay, a 46-year-old Las Vegas cocktail waitress and mother of one, was beaten to death with a hammer at her suburban condominium in 2012. In the early morning hours of September 29, when her eight-year-old daughter was with her grandmother, she was savagely beaten by a man waiting for her. Tiaffay’s estranged and respected firefighter George, as well as a homeless and ex-convict named Noel Stevens, whom he allegedly recruited to commit the murder, were eventually convicted in the case. A trail of evidence, including blood-spattered pants, phone records and a tip, led detectives to the perpetrators.
Under a Full Moon, an upcoming episode of Oxygen’s Dateline: Secrets Uncovered, will investigate Shauna Tiaffay’s case on Thursday, February 2, 2023 at 7:00 PM ET. According to the episode summary:
“When investigators apprehend the murderer of a Las Vegas cocktail waitress and mother, it becomes clear that the investigation has really just begun.”
This post takes a closer look at some key aspects of the murder case.
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Five quick facts about the death of Las Vegas cocktail server Shauna Tiaffay
1) In the weeks before her murder, Shauna Tiaffay’s home was broken into.
Shauna Tiaffay, 46, a cocktail waitress at the iconic Palms Hotel Casino on the Las Vegas strip, was living in a separate apartment in the Summerlin area of Las Vegas in 2012 when her marriage to firefighter George Tiaffay came under strain. Madison, their eight-year-old daughter, was shared by the two. However, in early September, someone entered her apartment and snatched her wedding ring, shocking her from the inside out.
2) George, Shauna’s estranged husband, found her brutally battered corpse and the murder scene in her apartment.
Shauna Tiaffay was attacked as she returned home from work in the early morning hours of September 29, 2012. According to reports, a man was already waiting at her house when she arrived. He then hit her with a hammer and only stopped when she was dead. The assault took place a few weeks after the burglary.
Madison, who had spent the night with her grandmother, was picked up by George the next morning and driven to Shauna. He then found her dead and the gruesome murder scene and called 911. According to the Mirror, George Tiaffay is said to have remarked in a 911 call that morning:
“I believe I should report a burglary and a murder.”
3) A reliable tip led detectives to a strange homeless person who confessed to the crime.
The killer was previously believed to be Shauna’s estranged husband, George Tiaffay. However, he presented a credible alibi, stating that he worked a 24-hour shift at the fire station before raising their daughter. Afterward, authorities received a major tip from a man who indicated that his friend Noel Stevens, an ex-con who lived in a tent outside the city, confessed to murdering a lady with a hammer.
When officials arrested him, they searched the area around his tent and found a pair of pants splattered with Shauna’s blood. They also discovered a barcode sticker that matched one from a hammer, which was believed to be the murder weapon. At the police station, Noel finally acknowledged that he killed Shauna.
Authorities examined Noel’s phone and discovered a contact named George. When asked who it was, he said, “That’s my firefighter buddy.” George Tiaffay had befriended Noel Stevens, it was later discovered. Phone records showed that the two men had been in regular contact in the days before Shauna’s death.
George allegedly convinced Noel to kill his estranged wife, Shauna Tiaffay, by offering him money in return. Finally, detectives discovered CCTV footage of the two suspects searching together for the murder weapon, a hammer.
5) George Tiaffay, Shauna Tiaffay’s estranged husband, was prosecuted and convicted of murder.
Noel Stevens, the alleged hit man in Shauna’s murder case, pleaded guilty in 2013 to avoid the death penalty and even agreed to testify against George Tiaffay, who insisted he was innocent. George even got into a car accident while trying to run away before being apprehended. Authorities said the event was a suicide attempt.
After Noel provided extensive evidence about everything that happened leading up to the horrific murder of Shauna Tiaffay, a jury convicted George in 2015 of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. A child’s father was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole. Meanwhile, the hitman received a prison sentence ranging from 42 years to life.