An automatic plea of not guilty has been entered on behalf of a Jackson
Township man charged with the shooting death of his wife.
On Monday, Porter Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford entered the plea for
Fredrick C. Cashner, 54, of 371 E. Tratebas Road, and set trial for Oct. 31.
Prosecuting Attorney Brian Gensel told the Chesterton Tribune today
that, under Indiana Code, a judge may not legally accept a plea of guilty at
the initial hearing of a person charged with a felony. “The court must enter
a not-guilty plea on the person’s behalf,” Gensel said.
Murder is punishable by a term of 45 to 65 years.
Cashner is accused of shooting his wife, Cynthia Cashner, 51, at least eight
times, at her business and place of residence, the Mystic Moon Herbal Shoppe
on U.S. Highway 6, on the night of April 24. Officers initially responded to
the scene after a 911 call was received from Mystic Moon at 10:25 p.m. and
the dispatcher, though unable to make contact with the caller, did hear
“labored breathing” on the other end.
Officers found Cashner on the second floor of the building, lying on an air
mattress, with multiple gunshot wounds to her legs, left hip, abdomen, both
shoulders, and neck.
Cashner was taken into custody at his residence after he called his
step-son, Cynthia Cashner’s son, to say that he had just killed his wife,
police said, and a loaded AK-47 rifle was recovered from his pickup truck.
Det. Dennis Meyers of the Portage Police Department said this about the 911
call in his probable cause affidavit: “Labored breathing is heard. No one
responds to the dispatcher’s inquiry as to the emergency, nor to his
repeated attempts to get someone’s attention by saying ‘Hello.’ However,
after approximately 20 seconds, a male voice is heard saying ‘It’s too late’
and something else as yet undetermined followed by three to four gunshots.
The labored breathing continues for several more seconds, then it cannot be