Murder of Heather Garraus by Shawna Nelson investigated on Married With Secrets

Mugshot of Shawna Nelson
Shawna Nelson was sentenced to life in prison for murdering Heather Garraus. Pic credit: Colorado Dept. of Corrections

Married With Secrets is in Greeley, Colorado, to investigate the murder of Heather Garraus, who was killed by Shawna Nelson, the spurned lover of her husband.

In 2007, Shawna Nelson was a former Weld County police dispatcher who was married to a Weld County Sheriff, Deputy Ken Nelson. However, Shawna had been having a four-year affair with Greeley Police Officer Ignacio Garraus, who was himself married to Heather Garraus.

Shawna and Ignacio had had a child together, but a month before Heather was killed, Ignacio had called off the relationship. Unfortunately, it seems that Shawna was unable to let that decision go and became consumed with a jealous rage.

On January 23, 2007, Shawna drove her husband’s pick-up truck to the Credit Union where Heather was working and waited for her shift to end.

Witnesses would later recall that a masked woman, dressed in black, approached Heather and told her: “You ruined my life. Get on the ground.”

Heather reportedly knelt down on the ground before she was shot twice execution-style in the back of the head. Nelson then fled the scene.

On hearing of Heather’s death, the Garraus family instantly pointed the finger at Shawna Nelson.

Watch the Latest on our YouTube Channel

The evidence mounted against Shawna Nelson

The evidence against Nelson was substantial. When her pick-up truck was stopped shortly after the shooting, she was found without shoes; she told the investigators that she was just making a quick trip to the liquor store and hadn’t bothered with her footwear.

However, a pair of shoes were discovered about 700 feet from where she was stopped, and they were covered in Nelson’s DNA and gunshot residue.

Further gunshot residue was found on her other clothes, including the red and black mask used to hide her identity. Investigators also noticed that her truck’s tires matched the tire tracks left in the snow at the Credit Union parking lot.

She was arrested a short time later and charged with first-degree murder. She was eventually sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

In an interesting twist on the case, her former husband, Deputy Ken Nelson, was the officer who first pulled over Shawna after the murder when she was driving his truck. A short time later, Ken was arrested because he had failed to detain his wife and had handled the murder weapon.

Ken Nelson believes that Shawna was trying to frame him for the murder by driving his truck and wearing items of clothing that belonged to him. “Why else would she be wearing my underwear, wearing my socks, my baseball cap, and drive my truck that she hated?” he asked the Denver-based 9 News.

Ken had resigned from the Sheriff’s Office just before his arrest, but he was subsequently cleared of all charges when his wife was convicted. He also divorced Shawna.

Ignacio Garraus also resigned from the Greeley Police Department a few weeks after Heather was murdered.

More from Investigation Discovery

Follow the links to read about more shocking crimes profiled on ID.

Lori Ann Taylor Keller was angry about losing custody of her kids to her ex-husband, Chip Taylor, so she and her new husband, Nakia Keller, traveled to his home intent on committing murder. They killed Chip and his new wife, Allaina Taylor, and her daughter Kaylee Whetzel.

The police suspect that Atlanta millionaire Lance Herndon wanted to end his relationship with his jealous girlfriend, Dionne Baugh. However, Baugh decided if she couldn’t have him, no one could.

Married With Secrets airs at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x