LAS VEGAS -- A Las Vegas casino waitress. A homeless hitman. An estranged husband angry enough to have his wife killed.

That was the recipe for a plot police say led to the arrest of a firefighter accused of masterminding a brutal murder-for-hire, then crashing his pickup into a freeway barrier at 76 mph in a failed suicide attempt as police closed in.

A police report is now shedding light on what investigators and prosecutors call the true story of George Tiaffay paying $600 to his homeless acquaintance and occasional handyman, Noel Stevens, and of supplying a key to 46-year-old Shauna Tiaffay's apartment weeks before her Sept. 29 slaying.

There were several twists to the tale before Tiaffay, 40, was arrested on Wednesday.

Stevens was already in jail on unrelated drug charges. Both remained Friday at the Clark County jail in Las Vegas on multiple felony charges, including murder, conspiracy, burglary and robbery that could qualify for the death penalty. Both are due for an initial arraignment Monday. It was not immediately clear if Stevens had a lawyer.

Tiaffay's lawyer, Robert Langford, wouldn't talk in detail about the case, but said his client intends to fight the charges.

"On the best of days, when police file charges, they only have 70 percent of the information in a case," Langford told The Associated Press. "It's the other 30 percent where the truth lies."

Police say Shauna Tiaffay, the mother of an 8-year-old girl, apparently tried to fend off her attacker before she was killed with a hammer blow to the head so severe that medics couldn't tell if she had been shot or bludgeoned. The mangled fingers on her right hand bore what medics called defensive wounds.

A jogger later found items, including a makeup bag, cellphone and health card bearing Shauna Tiaffay's name on a dirt path leading away from her townhome development in a suburban tract several miles west of the Las Vegas Strip.

George and Shauna Tiaffay were estranged and separated after seven years of marriage.

Police said he had an alibi. He was at work on a 24-hour shift when Shauna Tiaffay was killed, according to a police report made public Thursday. He was the one who called 911 when he arrived with their daughter at her townhome a little after 9 a.m.

Shauna Tiaffay was still wearing her Palms Resort Casino work uniform when she was found face-up on the floor in the dining area.

The alleged murder conspiracy unraveled after Stevens, who went by the name "Greyhound," allegedly bragged about the slaying to someone who contacted police Sept. 30.

Stevens told the witness he hit the woman so hard the hammer broke, police said, and he later told another witness that he had been promised $20,000 for the killing.

"We got a very good tip and followed it to the end," police homicide Sgt. Matt Sanford said Friday, adding that the gruesome slaying shocked even veteran investigators for its severity.

What police still don't know is a motive for the slaying, Sanford said. After Tiaffay called 911 to report finding his wife's body, he referred police questions to his lawyer.

Shauna Tiaffay will be buried Saturday. An obituary in the Las Vegas Review-Journal said she born into a Mormon family in Salt Lake City and lived in Virginia and Pennsylvania before moving to Las Vegas in 1994. She baked cupcakes for co-workers' birthdays, loved the color pink and considered her daughter her greatest joy in life. Attempts to reach family members on Friday were not immediately successful.

According to a 14-page police report, investigators found that Shauna Tiaffay's apartment had been burglarized Sept. 4 by someone who took clothing and jewelry and left boxer shorts neatly folded on her washing machine. Investigators found evidence that vodka had been consumed from a bottle in the refrigerator. Shauna Tiaffay didn't report the break-in to police until Sept. 14.

Police later discovered clothing believed to have belonged to Shauna Tiaffay, including panties, a black dress and swimsuit bottom, in and around tents at Stevens' two desert campsites. The ring had been sold. Police said Stevens' DNA was found on the vodka bottle. The matching swimsuit top was still in the townhouse.

Police learned that George Tiaffay and Stevens exchanged 86 cellphone calls in the month before the slaying, and video footage showed the two men in a Walmart store Sept. 13 and Sept. 15, buying items including a hammer, knife and gloves.

Stevens was arrested before dawn Sept. 17 less than three miles from Shauna Tiaffay's home after police accused him of having a hammer, knife, gloves and cap in a bag he dropped before he was stopped. Police suspected he was out to burglarize homes.

Stevens was released, but arrested again Oct. 1 on a felony drug possession charge when homicide investigators seeking to question him about the slaying located him outside a convenience store and found marijuana in the pockets of his pants. The drug case is pending.

Police later learned that on Sept. 27 George Tiaffay bought a .380 caliber handgun and ammunition and used an indoor range at a Las Vegas gun store. The gun wasn't registered, and Tiaffay had never been to the store before.

Sanford said Friday police still don't know why Tiaffay bought the gun.

On Monday, after detectives questioned Tiaffay's mother and sister, Tiaffay crashed his 2004 Ford F-250 pickup truck into a freeway barrier not far from Shauna Tiaffay's former home. The Nevada Highway Patrol said Tiaffay was the only occupant of the vehicle.

Tiaffay was hospitalized with cuts and bruises. He was arrested when he was released from the hospital.

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Marcus Crosby

    The Will County, Ill. Sheriff's Department said Crosby killed his wife and himself hours after auditioning for the show 'Family Feud'

  • Na Cola Franklin

    FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Whitehall Township Bureau of Police, Whitehall, Pa. shows Na Cola Franklin. Jurors found Na Cola Franklin, 32, guilty after deliberating about three hours in Lehigh County Court. She could get life in prison when she is sentenced July 16. Her attorney said an appeal is likely. (AP Photo/Whitehall Township Bureau of Police, File)

  • Pvt. Isaac Aguigui

    In this Aug. 30, 2012 file photo, Pvt. Isaac Aguigui walks into the courtroom during a preliminary hearing at Long County Superior Court in Ludowici, Ga. Army prosecutors plan to reveal why a Georgia-based soldier accused of leading an anti-government militia group has also been charged with killing his pregnant wife two years ago. A legal hearing at Fort Stewart for 21-year-old Pvt. Isaac Aguigui is scheduled to begin Monday, July 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Stephen Morton, File)

  • Gravedigger buries wife

    Police in Virginia allege that Ashley Rodriguez, the wife of Adan Quiroz Rodriguez and mother of four children with him, was shot fatally by her husband. Her body was found in the cemetery her husband worked as a gravedigger in Virginia. He was arrested near Charlotte, N.C.

  • Jesus Maqueira

    Maqueira was arrested in February, 2012 for allegedly murdering his wife. Cops said he <a href="http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/02/12/16936647-florida-man-confesses-to-killing-wife-wont-reveal-where-body-is-police-say?lite" target="_hplink">admitted to killing Raquel Maria Calderin,</a> but wouldn't tell them where her body was, according to NBC Miami.

  • Kelly and Kristi Suckla

    Police in Grapevine, Texas say that Kelly Suckla, 43, killed his estranged wife and then himself during an argument at their daughter's 16th birthday party on Jan. 19, 2013.

  • Shrien and Anni Dewani

    FILE - Undated file handout photo issued by the Bristol Evening Post of Shrien Dewani and Anni Dewani. The British man is accused of hiring a hit man to kill his wife during the couple's honeymoon in Cape Town, South Africa in 2010. His wife's body was found with gunshot wounds in a taxi.

  • Thomas Mortimer IV

    Mortimer was sentenced to life in prison for killing his wife Laura Stone Mortime, their two children Charlotte and Thomas V, and his mother-in-law Ellen Stone. Police contended that marital discord preceded the grisly killings. HIs sister-in-law discovered the bodies in the family's home north of Boston in 2010.

  • Ice Cream Parlor Murderess

    Goidsargi Estibaliz Carranza Zabala pleaded guilty to killing her ex-husband, then chopping up his body with a chainsaw and hiding the parts inside cement blocks in the cellar of her ice cream parlor. Two years later, she did the same thing to her new boyfriend. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/20/estibaliz-carranza-murder-husband-ice-cream-parlor_n_2165849.html" target="_hplink">Read the whole story here. </a>

  • Calvin L. Harris

    FILE - In this July 15, 2009 file photo, Calvin Harris walks to Tioga County Court in Owego, N.Y. Harris, a prominent auto dealer imprisoned for the murder of his estranged wife, will have his case heard by New York. Michele Harris' body was never found and she has not been seen since Sept. 11 or 12, 2001. Blood was found in the Harrises kitchen, but investigators never located a murder weapon.

  • Christopher Smeltzer

    FILE - In this Nov. 10, 2010 file photo, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/03/christopher-smeltzer-sentence_n_1126844.html" target="_hplink">Christopher Smeltzer</a> arrives for arraignment in District Court in Candia, N.H. on a charge he beat his wife to death. In October 2011, Smeltzer pleaded guilty to killing her. He faces 15 to 30 years in prison when sentenced Friday, Dec. 2, 2011 in Rockingham Superior Court in Brentwood, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, File)

  • Fredericka Rosa

    Fredericka Rosa, who suffers from dementia, allegedly murdered her husband and then continued to prepare him meals for 2 days. Her children claim that her husband "drove her insane" and that she had snapped after years of abuse.

  • Arnoldo Jimenez

    FILE - This undated photo provided by the Burbank, Ill., Police Department shows<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/16/estrella-carrera-death-arnoldo-jimenez_n_1520615.html" target="_hplink"> Arnoldo Jimenez</a>. The FBI announced Thursday, May 24, 2012, a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest Jiminez, who is accused of killing his new bride shortly after their May 11 wedding in Chicago. Authorities say they are concentrating their search for Jimenez in Mexico in the state of Durango. (AP Photo/Burbank Police Department, File)

  • Bobby Nichols

    This photo provided by Smith County Jail shows <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20120706/us-slain-wife-texas/" target="_hplink">Bobby Nichols</a>. Nichols spoke with The Associated Press in a telephone interview from his home in Tyler three days after he posted a $750,000 bond and was released from jail. He is charged with murder in the June 29 death of 71-year-old Rosiland Nichols, to whom he had been married for 26 years. Tyler police arrested Nichols after receiving a 911 call from a man who identified himself as Dr. Bobby Nichols and requested an ambulance and the sheriff, saying he had just shot his wife.(AP Photo/The Tyler Morning Telegraph, Herb Nygren Jr)

  • Bruce Beresford Redman

    FILE - In this May 26, 2010 file photo, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/09/bruce-beresford-redman-murder_n_1264609.html" target="_hplink">Bruce Beresford-Redman, the former "Survivor" producer</a>, pauses for a photo at his home in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. A spokesman for the ex-"Survivor" producer said Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012, that Beresford-Redman is being returned to Cancun, where he is charged with aggravated homicide for his wife Monica's April 2010 death. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

  • James Herring

    This undated photo provided by the Fort Smith, Ark., Police Department shows <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/16/celestia-duffin-pregnant-james-herring-stabbed-murder-arkansas_n_1521620.html" target="_hplink">James Herring</a>, who was arrested on a murder charge Tuesday, May 15, 2012 after his pregnant wife, who had been stabbed in the chest, staggered into the Fort Smith police station and collapsed. Police say officers rushed 32-year-old Celestia Duffin to Fort Smith hospital, where doctors delivered her baby prematurely, but both mother and infant died. (AP Photo/Fort Smith Police Department)

  • Eric Gilford

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/05/eric-gilford-sentenced-to_n_996303.html" target="_hplink">Eric Gilford</a>, 32, who pleaded guilty to the murders in June 2011, was sentenced to 50 years for the first-degree murder of his wife Kristine Gilford, and another 50 years for intentional homicide of their unborn son, to be served consecutively, the <em>Chicago Sun-Times</em> reports. Kristine was 20 weeks pregnant at the time of her death