Chesterton Tribune

Not guilty plea entered for local man charged with wife's murder

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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 heard further.”

 

Posted 5/3/2011