Sunday, April 24, 2011

Domestic Violence murder of Cynthia Cashner - Portage

DV victims murdered during their Porter County divorce cases




















A doorway window is covered with duct tape after a woman was shot and killed at Mystic Moons Herbal Shoppe in Portage. Jon L. Hendricks. The Times.










On April 24, 2010, domestic violence victim Cynthia Cashner was gunned down by her ex-husband. Cynthia had filed for divorce from her husband on March 23rd. Her divorce case was before Magistrate James Johnson [Porter County Superior Court. Valparaiso, IN].









What was Magistrate Johnson doing back on the bench? What happened to the Commission's 2010 investigation of Magistrate Johnson and the complaints I had filed against Johnson for his failure to protect me / uphold my personal protective order? The investigation and review of my complaints appear to have disappeared after the October 07, 2010 illegal police entry into my home.









A few weeks after Cynthia's murder, Magistrate Johnson resigned...Amidst yet another backlog of divorce cases.















Husband gets 45-year sentence in Portage murder
January 03, 2013
Bob Kasarda

http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/porter/portage/husband-gets--year-sentence-in-portage-murder/article_891b3634-9fed-5122-80a3-11a772fc2a62.html











VALPARAISO | While struggling to describe the pain his family has suffered as a result of the murder of his mother, Matthew Hooper told a Porter County court Thursday that gunman Frederick Cashner Jr. has never offered an apology.

Cashner let another opportunity go by moments later when he declined to make a comment before being sentenced to the minimum 45 years behind bars called for in a plea agreement.

Defense attorney Paul Stracci later told the victim's family the legal system is set up in a way that apologies for crimes can be used against an offender.

He said Cashner, 56, told a probation officer he feels bad about his offense and wishes he can trade places with Cynthia Cashner.

Cashner pleaded guilty in December to murdering Cynthia Cashner, 50, on April 24, 2011, by repeatedly shooting her with a high-powered semi-automatic rifle at her Mystic Moon Herbal Shoppe, 5830 U.S. 6, Portage.

Cynthia Cashner was Frederick's estranged wife.

Hooper said he can't imagine what his mother went through those final few moments.

"Looking down the barrel of an assault rifle and pleading for her life," he said.

The murder occurred on Easter Sunday, which Hooper said has forever ruined that holiday for his family.

Hooper said there is small comfort in knowing his mother is free from the prison created by Cashner. He said his mother said several times in her last year that if she was found dead, let police know Cashner is responsible.

Porter County Deputy Prosecutor Cheryl Polarek said the plea agreement prohibits Cashner from appealing, which brings an end to the case for the victim's family.

Upon completion of the sentencing, Stracci asked Porter Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford to order police to release items seized from Cashner, including hunting rifles.

Bradford approved the request for any guns other than handguns and semi-automatic and automatic weapons.

Cashner is eligible to reduce his sentence by more than half with good behavior and participation in various prison programs. He will also receive credit for 620 days already served.


(11) Comments
 
Cheesehead Hoosier
- 31 minutes ago. Big tough guy had to use a semi-automatic rifle to kill a 50-year woman working at an herb shop? Hope he meets some bigger, tougher guys behind bars. I'd like to see these pathetic scum who kill their spouses, ex'es, parents and children over bruised egos not be eligible for any time off for good behavior -- male and female. Sad that some people believe they own their families and it's 'their right' to decide whether children and others live or die.


RAin'tmisbehavin - 9 hours ago. I hope this scumbag rots in prison! Cynthia's in heaven for sure because she must have had "h*** on earth" with that poor excuse for a human being.


Catie- 10 hours ago I think we as taxpayers should have some say in how the laws read for sentencing people for murder, drugs, and child abuse/rape. I'll bet when we finish with the rough draft the judges will see what we meant when we have all made the statement, "the sentencing should fit the crime and we are not going to take it sitting down anymore"!


Miss Behaving Miss Anona- 11 hours ago. This is crazy! 
"Cashner is eligible to reduce his sentence by more than half with good behavior and participation in various prison programs. He will also receive credit for 620 days already served."
He shouldn't be eligible for anything other than unsupervised general population.



BETTERTHENNEVER - 11 hours ago. family member responding ***From what we understood is that no earlier then 23 years we expect him to be released around 80 years old .That was one of the questions we asked before we agreed to the 45 years.


BETTERTHENNEVER -13 hours ago. This was my mother in law I miss her everyday. We wanted Fred to receive more then the 45 years, but to worry about the max the judge would have sentence Fred and going to trial we agreed to the 45. No matter the years we cant' bring her back,but we can live a few years in comfort,also we don't have to worry about him appealing in the future. This was a bitter sweet day.


comptech- 14 hours ago. Here's the crime, "He said his mother said several times in her last year alive that if she is found dead to let police know Cashner is responsible." If we continue to be a country that can only take action after the heinous crime has been carried out then there is no sense passing any kind of gun restrictions or any other proactive measures. We aren't interested in preventing deaths, only in punishing, and not very effectively most of the time, after the crime has been committed.


Fast' Ed- 13 hours ago. comptech - 23 minutes ago
".... If we continue to be a country that can only take action after the heinous crime has been carried out then there is no sense passing any kind of gun restrictions or any other proactive measures....."
______________________________________
Did you hear what you just said?
You want people to be arrested before any crime has been committed?
Do you have any clue how badly a law like than can be abused and how many innocent people can sit in prison because "someone doesn't like them"?
Then you go on to say that there is "no sense passing any kind of gun restrictions" to prevent these crimes? You only want to arrest people before they do the crimes (to prevent the crimes), but you don't want to take away their guns?
Wazzup wit dat?



reneeharrington- 38 minutes ago. Fast' Ed,  Being proactive in divorce cases involving domestic violence means divorce attorneys and the divorce court honoring and upholding personal protective orders and taking more progressive steps in insuring the victim's safety. Divorce is the most dangerous time for a domestic violence victim. 
As a victim of domestic violence, I can attest to attorneys and the Porter County Court ignoring my ex's continued violence towards me and the protective order. I have court transcripts of Magistrate Johnson refusing to honor an arrest warrant for my ex's threat to kill me. I have transcripts of Johnson repeatidly refusing to uphold the protective order against my ex.
I was the one who reported Magistrate Johnson's failure to protect domestic violence victims to the State. The retailiation I was subjected to for speaking up for victims was horrendous. The State's review of Magistrate Johnson for failure to protect dv victims disappeared six months before Cynthia's murder and Johnson was placed back on the bench. Cynthia's divorce case was before Johnson [according to news articles]. 
www.abbiandbaileyfromtheheart.blogspot.com



The Mantis - 9 hours ago 2nd amendment...


deli4551978 - 14 hours ago The only reason this guy said "wishes he can trade places with his estrange wife" is because he was caught, convicted, sentenced & going to prison for years. He didn't say this because he meant any remorse for what he did. What a jerk. This article states that he will do less than his time due to good behavior, programs & credit for the 620 days already done. In the fall of 2009, IN DOC changed it's policy on sentencing guideline from 1 for 1, 1 day off for every day served, to 2 for 1, 2 DAYS OFF FOR EVERY DAY SERVED. THEY ARE OVERCROWDED. THE MATH EQUALS OUT TO 5268 DAYS=UNDER 14 1/2 YEARS. DISGUSTING. He was given the minimum 45 years for a capital crime. He should have been sentenced to enough years so that this woman's family & children, although grown, would have time to live out the remainder of their own lives without having to know that this guy is out when the day comes. They will be notified of that day on that day itself, that he WAS released. Not something to look forward to in life. The judge should have considered this and sentenced this man to HIS LIFE. However, something is better than nothing I guess. I hope this brings some type of closure to this woman's family.















Valpo man sentenced for shooting wife to death in Portage
By James D. Wolf Jr.
Post-Tribune
January 3, 2013 2:05PM


http://posttrib.suntimes.com/17368280-537/valpo-man-sentenced-for-shooting-wife-to-death-in-portage.html
 
VALPARAISO — If Frederick C. Cashner Jr., 56, gets through his 45-year sentence for the murder of his wife, he will be put on the state’s sex and violent offender registry.
Sentencing of the Valparaiso man on Thursday in Porter County Superior Court also included $1,389 restitution for funeral expenses for Cynthia Cashner, 50, whom he shot eight times with an AK-47 assault rifle on Easter 2011 while she was alone in her Portage business.

 

Through the sentencing, Cashner remained quiet and didn’t give a statement.
In response to a family victim statement that noted Cashner never showed emotion or apologized, defense attorney Paul G. Stracci said it’s difficult for suspects to show remorse because in the court system, "those admissions are used against them later."

During his pre-sentencing interview, Cashner showed remorse and also said he wished he could trade places with Cynthia.

"For whatever that’s worth, that’s how he feels," Stracci said.

The sentencing came from a Dec. 6 plea agreement that Cashner made to the murder charge, which capped his incarceration at 45 years, the lowest amount of time that could be served for a charge that carries a 45- to 65-year sentence.

Cashner, a former vintner for a Porter County wine producer, had claimed not to recall the incidents of April 25, 2011, when he drove to Mystic Moon, on the second floor of 5830 U.S. 6, and forced entry by smashing a steel security door with a hammer.

While he shot her eight times in the head, torso and extremities, the victim dialed 911 on a cell phone at 10:22 p.m., and a dispatcher heard labored breathing for 20 seconds until a male voice said, "It’s too late" and something incoherent.

Three or four gunshots later, the dispatcher heard no more breathing.

"We are certain you intended to kill her," the victim’s son, Matthew Hooper, said in his victim’s statement.

Hooper had trouble beginning his statement because of tears, but he said his mother told family if she ended up dead, they should tell police he killed her.

Hooper also said Cashner had his mother in a sort of prison. She had filed for divorce in March 2011, and a provisional order gave her a vehicle and made Cashner responsible for bills and continuing health insurance for her.
















Man admits killing wife at her Portage business; faces 45 years in prison
By James D. Wolf Jr.
Post-Tribune
December 6, 2012 3:44PM
http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/porter/16853192-418/man-admit-killing-wife-at-her-portage-business.html
 

A Chesterton area man admitted Thursday to murdering his estranged wife, shooting her multiple times with an AK-47 assault rifle and leaving her dead with her blood splattered in a fine mist over the walls and ceiling of her Portage business.

Fredrick C. Cashner Jr., 56, pleaded to felony murder with the courtroom filled with family of his victim, Cynthia Cashner, 50.

Porter County Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford set Cashner’s sentencing hearing for 11 a.m. Jan. 3.
If Bradford accepts the terms of the plea agreement, he will sentence Cashner to 45 years in prison, which is the minimum amount of time that Indiana law allows for the required 45- to 65-year sentence.

The plea hearing went quickly with Cashner admitting to going to his wife’s place of business with the assault rifle intending to kill her.

The murder happened on Easter night, April 24, 2011.

Cynthia Cashner was staying at her business, Mystic Moon, on the second floor at 5830 U.S. 6, in Portage, because of problems with Cashner.

She had filed for divorce in March 2011, and a provisional order gave her a vehicle and made her husband responsible for marital bills and health insurance for her.

Fredrick Cashner forced entry into the business by smashing in the downstairs blue security steel door, shattering the glass into a spider web pattern held up by the steel mesh embedded in it.

He shot her eight times in the neck, torso and extremities.

Someone had called 911 about 10:22 p.m., but the dispatcher only heard the labored breathing of what police later presumed was Cynthia Cashner.

The dispatcher tried to get a response, but 20 seconds into the call the dispatcher heard a male voice say, "It’s too late" and something indistinct.

After three or four gunshots, the breathing stopped.

Police found her on an air mattress on her back and right side, legs folded as if she’d sat cross-legged, a laptop computer between her legs.

About 30 minutes into the crime scene investigation, the victim’s son called 911 and said Fredrick Cashner called him and told him he had killed Cynthia and that the son should call 911.

A SWAT team soon surrounded Cashner’s residence in the 300 block of East Tratebas Road when he didn’t answer, but when they said they were coming in with a warrant, he walked out and calmly stated, "What took you so long?" and "I’ve been waiting for you, and there’s no problems here," according to court documents.

In Cashner’s truck, police found an AK-47 with a round chambered, an extra ammunition magazine for it and a hammer with blue paint flakes that matched the door of Mystic Moon.
















Porter County man pleads guilty to murdering his estranged wife

December 06, 2012 11:51 am
Northwest Indiana Times
Bob Kasarda
http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/porter/portage/porter-county-man-pleads-guilty-to-murdering-his-estranged-wife/article_779a3fd4-fb9f-5b42-86b6-20ab871d6078.html

VALPARAISO | Jackson Township resident Fredrick Cashner Jr. showed no emotion Thursday as he pleaded guilty to murdering his estranged wife in 2011 by repeatedly shooting her with a high-powered semiautomatic rifle.

The 56-year-old's plea is in return for the minimum sentence of 45 years behind bars, which he can complete in half the time with good behavior and participation in various prison programs.

Brian McGowan, who is the brother of 50-year-old murder victim Cynthia Cashner, said the family is pleased with the proposed plea agreement considering there will be no trial and no chance for appeal.

It was McGowan's understanding the defense wanted to argue the shooting was the result of sudden heat and thus should result in a lesser charge.

The family plans to return Jan. 3 when Judge Roger Bradford will decide whether to accept the proposed plea agreement and carry out sentencing, McGowan said. The group has been waiting until that time to spread Cynthia Cashner's ashes.

"We're waiting to put this behind us," he said.

Cashner is accused of killing Cynthia Cashner on April 24, 2011, by firing at least eight bullets into her body.

She was found dead on an air mattress after police received a 911 call about 10:25 p.m. from her Mystic Moon Herbal Shoppe, 5830 U.S. 6, Portage.

Dispatchers reportedly heard faint breathing on the line and nothing else, though on second review, detectives later heard a male voice in the background say, "It's too late," followed by three or four gunshots, police said.

When Bradford asked Fredrick Cashner on Thursday if he intended to kill his estranged wife, he initially said no.

After conferring with his defense attorney, Paul Stracci, Cashner responded with a yes to that question and to others asking if he pointed the gun at the victim and pulled the trigger multiple times.

Cashner's case had been set to go to trial Jan. 7.















Deadline extended for guilty plea in Portage slaying
November 26, 2012 6:30 pm
Northwest Indiana Times

Bob Kasarda

http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/porter/portage/deadline-extended-for-guilty-plea-in-portage-slaying/article_9fd3c09b-85c8-5a3e-926b-7b636a6920ba.html
 
VALPARAISO | A Jackson Township man charged in his estranged wife's slaying now has until Dec. 6 to accept a plea agreement.

A judge extended the deadline Monday after Fredrick Cashner Jr. declined to take action on an offer to plead guilty to murder in exchange for a prison sentence of 45 years.

The murder charge carries a potential sentence of 45 to 65 years.

Cashner has no prior criminal history and likely would not receive more than 55 years if found guilty at trial, Porter County Deputy Prosecutor Cheryl Polarek said after the court hearing.

Cashner is accused of killing his estranged wife, 50-year-old Cynthia Cashner, on April 24, 2011, by firing at least eight bullets into her body with a high-powered semiautomatic rifle.

Cynthia Cashner was found dead on an air mattress after police received a 911 call about 10:25 p.m. from the Mystic Moon Herbal Shoppe, 5830 U.S. 6, Portage, which she owned.

Dispatchers reportedly heard faint breathing on the line and nothing else, though on second review, detectives later heard a male voice in the background say, "It's too late," followed by three or four gunshots, police said.

If Cashner does not accept the proposed plea agreement, his case will go trial Jan. 7 before Porter Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford.
















Jan. 7 trial set for Portage murder case
September 10, 2012 1:00 pm
Northwest Indiana Times
Bob Kasarda
http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/porter/portage/jan-trial-set-for-portage-murder-case/article_11813b28-a6f2-5d87-ade3-9d41d2c637a1.html
 
VALPARAISO | A Jan. 7 trial date has been set for a Jackson Township resident charged with killing his estranged wife April 24, 2011, by firing at least eight bullets into her body with a high-powered semiautomatic rifle.

Defense attorney Paul Stracci told the court Monday morning he and prosecutors have been unable to settle on a plea agreement in the case against Fredrick Cashner Jr.

Porter Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford set a pretrial hearing for Nov. 26 and told the attorneys that will be the last date a deal will be accepted short of Cashner pleading guilty to the crime as charged.

Cashner, of the 300 block of East Tratebas Road, has pleaded not guilty to the single charge of murder, which carries a potential sentence of 45 to 65 years in prison.

Cynthia Cashner, 50, was found dead on an air mattress after police received a 911 call about 10:25 p.m. from the Mystic Moon Herbal Shoppe, 5830 U.S. 6, Portage, which she owned.

Dispatchers reportedly heard faint breathing on the line and nothing else, though on second review, detectives later heard a male voice in the background say, "It's too late," followed by three or four gunshots, police said.
















Portage murder trial delayed
March 26, 2012 11:15 pm
By Bob Kasarda
http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/porter/portage/portage-murder-trial-delayed/article_e18b39e6-67f3-53ec-879f-15b934d0fff9.html


 

Fredrick Cashner. Photo provided by the Porter County sheriff's department.

VALPARAISO - An April 16 trial has been postponed for Fredrick Cashner Jr., accused of killing his estranged wife by firing at least eight bullets into her with a high-powered semiautomatic rifle.

Porter Superior Judge Roger Bradford set a hearing for June 11 after defense attorney Paul Stracci said he is waiting on work by a defense expert.

The delay has held up progress on the case, he said.

The move marks the second delay in the trial. It had been set for trial the first week of November, but was derailed when Stracci said he would not be available.

Cashner, of 371 E. Tratebas Road in Jackson Township, has pleaded not guilty to the single charge of murder, which carries a potential sentence of 45 to 65 years in prison.

Cynthia Cashner, 50, was found dead April 24 after police received a 911 call about 10:25 p.m. from the Mystic Moon Herbal Shoppe, 5830 U.S. 6, Portage, which she owned.

Dispatchers reportedly heard faint breathing on the line and nothing else, though on second review, detectives later heard a male voice in the background say, "It's too late," followed by three or four gunshots, police said.
















April 16 trial set in Portage murder case
November 21, 2011 12:00 pm
By Bob Kasarda
http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/porter/portage/april-trial-set-in-portage-murder-case/article_4e8f6d06-55b1-5e5f-82c2-be1f18aa98fe.html




Fredrick Cashner. Photo provided by the Porter County sheriff's department.

VALPARAISO - An April 16 trial has been set for Fredrick Cashner Jr., who is accused of killing his estranged wife by firing at least eight bullets into her body with a high-powered semiautomatic rifle.

Porter Superior Judge Roger Bradford set aside a week for the trial and scheduled a March 26 hearing to address last-minute issues.

The case had been set to go to trial the first week of November but was derailed at the request of defense attorney Paul Stracci, who said he would not be available.

Stracci told the court Monday he had just received a packet of evidence sought from prosecutors and did not have time to determine whether it includes everything he requested. If anything is missing, he said he would file a motion to complete the request.

He had requested the release of statements made by Cashner. He also sought access to the crime scene and any evidence collected, a long list of witness statements, search warrants, cellphone records, autopsy and other lab reports, and E911 call recordings.

Cashner, of 371 E. Tratebas Road in Jackson Township, has pleaded not guilty to the single charge of murder, which carries a potential sentence of 45 to 65 years in prison.

Cynthia Cashner, 50, was found dead April 24 on an air mattress after police received a 911 call about 10:25 p.m. from the Mystic Moon Herbal Shoppe, 5830 U.S. 6, Portage, which she owned.

Dispatchers reportedly heard faint breathing on the line and nothing else, though on second review, detectives later heard a male voice in the background say, "It's too late," followed by three or four gunshots, police said.
















Delay granted in next week's murder trial of Cashner
October 24, 2011 11:45 am
By Bob Kasarda

http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/porter/portage/delay-granted-in-next-week-s-murder-trial-of-cashner/article_4c3baf7a-94c1-58b5-b136-c9174788ce52.html

Fredrick Cashner. Photo provided by the Porter County sheriff's department.

VALPARAISO - A delay has been granted in next week's trial of Fredrick Cashner Jr., who is accused of killing his estranged wife April 24 by firing at least eight bullets into her body with a high-powered semiautomatic rifle.

The continuance was requested by defense attorney Paul Stracci, who said he will not be available next week.

Stracci also said more time is needed because the defense still is collecting evidence from prosecutors.

Porter Superior Judge Roger Bradford set a status hearing for 9 a.m. Nov. 21 and said sharing of evidence should be completed by that date.
A new trial date will be set at that time.

Cashner, of 371 E. Tratebas Road in Jackson Township, has pleaded not guilty to the single charge of murder, which carries a potential sentence of 45 to 65 years in prison.

Cynthia Cashner, 50, was found dead on an air mattress after police received a 911 call about 10:25 p.m. from the Mystic Moon Herbal Shoppe, 5830 U.S. 6, Portage, which she owned.

Dispatchers reportedly heard faint breathing on the line and nothing else, though on second review, detectives later heard a male voice in the background say, "It's too late," followed by three or four gunshots, police said.
















Defense seeks evidence in Porter County's only homicide case of the year
August 26, 2011 7:00 pm
By Bob Kasarda
http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/porter/portage/defense-seeks-evidence-in-porter-county-s-only-homicide-case/article_c589fcbe-b33a-5f49-8d77-68c41f040e43.html

Fredrick Cashner. Photo provided by the Porter County sheriff's department.


VALPARAISO - Porter County's only homicide case of the year so far is expected to heat up Monday when the defense makes its case for the release of evidence.

Defense attorney Paul Stracci has asked the court to order the release of statements made by his client, Fredrick Cashner Jr., of Jackson Township.

He also is seeking access to the crime scene and any evidence collected, a long list of witness statements, search warrants, cellphone records, autopsy and other lab reports, and E911 call recordings.

It appears from court records that prosecutors already have provided the defense with a similar list of evidence.

Porter Superior Judge Roger Bradford, who will oversee Monday's hearing, had granted a request by prosecutors in May to collect saliva, fingerprint and handprint samples from Cashner.

Cashner is accused of using a high-powered semiautomatic rifle April 24 to fire at least eight bullets into the body of his estranged wife, Cynthia Cashner, at her business, Mystic Moon Herbal Shoppe along U.S. 6.

Cynthia Cashner's body was found on an air mattress after police received a 911 call about 10:25 p.m. Dispatchers reportedly heard faint breathing on the line and nothing else, though on second review, detectives later heard a male voice in the background say, "It's too late," followed by three or four gunshots, police said.

Fredrick Cashner pleaded not guilty in May to a single murder charge, which carries a potential sentence of between 45 and 65 years in prison. The case is scheduled for trial Oct. 31.

















Not guilty plea entered for local man charged with wife's murder
Posted 5/3/2011
Chesterton Tribune
http://chestertontribune.com/PoliceFireEmergency/53111%20not_guilty_plea_entered_for_loca.html


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.
















Trial date set in Portage killing
By James D. Wolf Post-Tribune correspondent
May 2, 2011 5:36PM
Updated: August 4, 2011 4:20PM
http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/5150108-418/trial-date-set-in-portage-killing.html


VALPARAISO The rural Valparaiso man accused of killing his wife with eight shots from an AK-47 rifle on April 24 is scheduled for trial on Oct. 31.

Porter Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford set the trial date Monday for Fredrick C. Cashner Jr., 54, who is accused of one count of murder. The charge carries a prison sentence of 45 to 65 years.

Cashner said little during his initial hearing Monday afternoon, done by video feed from the Porter County Jail.

He acknowledged most questions with "yes."

Whether Cashner will hire a private attorney or whether he’ll have a public defender wasn’t clear.

"I don’t know at this time," he said to Bradford, his first multi-word answer on the record.
The judge set June 20 as an attorney status date.

Four people who sat in the courtroom during the hearing — an older man and woman and two young men — declined to talk about why they were there.

Cashner is accused of killing Cynthia Cashner, 50, with the high-powered rifle after breaking into her herb business, Mystic Moon, at 5830 U.S. 6.

Police became aware of trouble there about 10:22 p.m. on April 24, when someone called 911, court documents state.

The 911 dispatcher heard heavy breathing but got no response to questions or repeated hellos.
In a tape of the call, a man said, "it’s too late," which was followed by more gunshots.

Police arrived and found the front door’s security glass shattered, blood on the wall and Cynthia Cashner dead on an air mattress.

Court records and acquaintances said she slept in the business office because of trouble at home.


She filed for divorce on March 23, 2011, and on April 5, Magistrate James Johnson’s court filed a provisional order that divided some assets before the divorce went to court.

Fredrick Cashner allegedly called his estranged wife’s son soon after the 911 from Mystic Moon and said he shot Cynthia and the son should call 911.

Because the charge is murder, Cashner is not eligible for bond under Indiana law, Bradford said.


Asked if he had any further questions, Cashner replied to Bradford with his only other multi-word answer, "not at this time."



The labored breathing continues for several more seconds, then it cannot be heard further."


















Jackson Twp. man pleads not guilty in county's first homicide of the year
May 02, 2011 5:30 pm
By Bob Kasarda

http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/porter/portage/jackson-twp-man-pleads-not-guilty-in-county-s-first/article_59361d04-6510-522d-b901-287fac27b299.html


Fredrick Cashner. Photo provided by the Porter County sheriff's department.


VALPARAISO - Fredrick Cashner Jr. had little to say Monday afternoon during his initial hearing on a charge of murdering his estranged wife.

He is accused of firing at least eight bullets into her body with a high-powered semi-automatic rifle.


Cashner, of 371 E. Tratebas Road in Jackson Township, wore a suicide-watch outfit and tapped his fingers on the table throughout the short hearing conducted via a teleconferencing system between the jail and the courtroom of Porter Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford.

When asked if he planned to hire an attorney, Cashner said he was not sure, and he was given time to explore his options. He said he did not have any questions.

The hearing attracted a small group of onlookers.

A plea of not guilty was entered on Cashner's behalf to the single charge of murder, which carries a potential sentence of between 45 and 65 years in prison.

Bradford told Cashner that a bond is not an option for a murder charge.

A trial was scheduled for Oct. 31, with preliminary hearings Aug. 29 and Oct. 3. A special attorney status hearing was scheduled for June 20.

Cynthia Cashner, 50, was found lying dead on an air mattress after police received a 911 call about 10:25 p.m. April 24 from the Mystic Moon Herbal Shoppe, 5830 U.S. 6, Portage, which she owned.

Dispatchers reportedly heard faint breathing on the line and nothing else, though on second review, detectives later heard a male voice in the background say, "It's too late," followed by three or four gunshots, police said.

The death is the county's first homicide of the year.














Husband charged in Portage slaying
April 26, 2011 6:00 pm
By Jeff Burton
http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/porter/portage/article_54c9afdb-e7c9-55aa-a30b-d7aa57f9baac.html


Fredrick Cashner. Photo provided by the Porter County sheriff's department.


VALPARAISO - Fredrick Cashner Jr., the husband of a Portage herbal store owner, was charged with her murder Tuesday afternoon.

In documents filed in Porter Superior Court detailing the grisly scene, police allege Cashner, 54, of 371 E. Tratebas Road in Jackson Township, shot his wife at least eight times with a high-powered semiautomatic rifle Sunday night.

Police said that about 10:25 p.m. Sunday, Porter County dispatchers received a 911 call from the Mystic Moon Herbal Shoppe, 5830 U.S. 6. Dispatchers reportedly heard faint breathing on the line and nothing else, though on a second review, detectives later heard a male voice in the background say, "It's too late," followed by three or four gunshots.

Two Portage officers arrived at the scene and found Cynthia Cashner, 50, the store's owner and Fredrick Cashner's estranged wife, lying dead on an air mattress with multiple gunshot wounds to her legs, left hip, abdomen, both shoulders and neck. Detectives described the bloody scene in court documents.

"The condition of Cynthia's body and the shape of the wounds indicated to (the detective) that a large-caliber bullet had been used in the shooting," court documents state.

Eight casings consistent with an AK-47 assault rifle were found in the apartment, and several appeared to have ricocheted off of the second story's cement floor.

Detectives said it appeared as though Cashner had been sitting cross-legged on the air mattress looking at her laptop at the time she was shot.

Police said that outside the building, a blue steel door leading to Cashner's suite was damaged and its wire-meshed window was hit several times with a blunt object.

About 30 minutes after the initial call, police said dispatchers received a call from Cynthia Cashner's adult son, saying his stepfather called him and said he just killed her. After several attempts to reach his stepfather and his mother, the man called police.

The Porter County SWAT was called to Fredrick Cashner's home and set up a perimeter, according to court documents. Officers said after multiple attempts to coax him out of the house, Cashner exited and reportedly said he'd been waiting for officers and asked, "What took you so long?"

In a search of Cashner's pickup truck parked in the home's driveway, police said they found a loaded AK-47 assault rifle on the back seat, along with an extra magazine of ammunition. Police said they also found a hammer with blue paint transfer and shards of glass on the driver's side floor mat.

Porter County Prosecutor Brian Gensel said Fredrick Cashner is charged with one count of murder and is being held in Porter County Jail without bond. An initial hearing before Porter Superior Judge Roger Bradford has not been scheduled.

















Man charged with killing wife with assault rifle in Portage
By Christin Nance Lazerus and James D. Wolf Jr.
April 26, 2011 5:56PM
Updated: August 4, 2011 4:20PM
http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/5039390-418/man-charged-with-killing-wife-with-assault-rifle-in-portage.html


Fredrick Cashner. Photo provided by the Porter County sheriff's department.

VALPARAISO — When the call came in at 10:22 p.m. Sunday, the dispatcher only heard the labored breathing of someone police believe was Cynthia Cashner.

About 20 seconds into the call, after the dispatcher tried to get some response, a male voice is heard saying, "It’s too late."

Then came three or four gunshots, and the breathing stopped soon after.

The Porter County Prosecutor’s Office charged Fredrick Cashner Jr., 54, of Chesterton, with murder late Tuesday afternoon.

He’s accused of shooting his estranged wife in her herbal business eight times with an AK-47 rifle. He is being held in Porter County Jail.

The case has been assigned to Porter County Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford, but no initial hearing or trial dates have been set.


Indiana statute doesn’t allow bail for murder suspects.

Police found Cynthia Cashner’s laptop computer running near her crossed legs, and a phone was near her head.

She had been staying at her business, Mystic Moon, on the second floor at 5830 U.S. 6 because of problems with her estranged husband.

She had filed for divorce on March 23.

When police arrived at Mystic Moon, they found the window on a blue security steel door smashed in.


Cynthia Cashner was found 8 feet inside the door of the business with gunshot wounds in her neck, abdomen, shoulders, left hip and both legs.

Police found eight shells casings there, and splattered blood on the wall.

Her son contacted 911 about 30 minutes later saying that Fredrick Cashner had called him, telling him he killed Cynthia and that the son should call 911.

The son tried calling Fredrick Cashner back and tried calling his mother, too, but no one answered either number.

Police checked the son’s cell phone records and found that Fredrick Cashner had called about 10:33 p.m. and the son called both numbers after that.

Portage and Porter County Sheriff officers went to Fredrick Cashner’s residence in the 300 block of East Tratebas Road in Chesterton and observed a silver pickup with a license plate registered to him and a large-screen television on inside the home, but no one answered the door.

A SWAT team surrounded the home, and Verizon confirmed that his cell phone hadn’t moved from the home in three hours.

When police secured a warrant, they communicated to him that they were entering.

Cashner then walked out and calmly stated, "What took you so long" and "I’ve been waiting for you, and there’s no problems here," according to court documents.

Police found the AK-47 with a round chambered and an extra magazine for it in the truck, as well as a hammer with blue paint that matched the security door of Mystic Moon. There were also glass shards on the floor.

Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris said the victim, 50, suffered eight gunshot wounds, including one that hit an artery in her neck. There were no stab wounds.

The autopsy was conducted Tuesday at the Marion County Coroner’s Office.



















Jerry Davich: When ‘till death do us part’ takes a fatal turn
April 26, 2011 4:44PM
Jerry Davich
http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/davich/5038094-452/when-til-death-do-us-part-takes-a-fatal-turn.html

Fredrick C. Cashner Jr. is staring at me.

Not in person, of course, but from the front page of Tuesday’s newspaper as I write today’s column.


It’s as if he’s staring right through me. Did his blank empty gaze stare through you, too?

I’m wondering what the hell was surging through his mind when he forced his way into his estranged wife’s place of business Sunday night and shot her to death with an assault rifle. Jealousy? Resentment? Rage? Despair? Hopelessness? A fatal cocktail of all the above?

On Tuesday, Cashner, 54, was formally charged with the murder of Cynthia Cashner, 50, at her workplace, Mystic Moon, on U.S. 6 in Portage, located above At Nature’s Door health food store.

I visited the business Monday and saw fresh duct tape on the door where Fredrick apparently busted out a thin vertical window to gain entry. As I stood at the exact spot he stood roughly 12 hours earlier, I wondered again what thoughts raced through his head as he allegedly clutched an AK-47.

Did he just want to scare her? Did they argue? Did he know what he was going to do minutes earlier, or hours earlier? Was he drunk? Did he simply "snap"? I guess it doesn’t matter much now. She’s dead and he will probably die in prison.

I’m sure they never imagined their marriage of 21 years could have turned out like this. Just imagine how they felt on their wedding day — loving, laughing and lustful, I’m guessing.

The Portage Police Department has no previous reports of any domestic violence with the couple, who lived in the same Jackson Township home until Cynthia moved out recently to live in her business. She filed for divorce on March 23.

The Porter County Sheriff’s Police also has no record of previous domestic violence.

"Since the suspect requested his attorney, we have not been able to establish a motive other than he was upset over the pending divorce," said Portage Police Capt. Terry Swickard.

Not much of a motive, really, in the big picture. Then again, it’s been the motive for many such homicides and many more attacks of violence, usually against wives by husbands who simply can’t handle the stressful situation.

Bitterness. Emptiness. Disappointment. Embarrassment. Loneliness. These are all possible aftershocks from the emotional earthquake of divorce. Some of these dark emotions certainly factored in to the criminal actions of Fredrick C. Cashner Jr.

As many of my readers know, I, too, went through a divorce about a year ago, and I’ve been meaning to write about this sensitive yet omnipresent subject ever since. It’s amazing, I’ve learned this past year, how divorce touches all of us in some way.

Either we’ve been divorced ourselves, or we know loved ones who are, or we’re children of divorce, or we’re crossfire casualties in another couple’s divorce. In other words, divorce, separation and estrangement are so common in our society, it’s impossible not to be affected by its far-reaching tentacles.

Still, when young, loving and idealistic couples exchange wedding vows with each other, no one thinks that "til death do us part" will actually become a reality through a divorce, an AK-47, and a prison sentence.

Previous homicide in Portage?

For those of you keeping score at home, the last homicide to take place in Portage was nearly two years ago, on May 15, 2009, at Canden Apartments. The victim was Jeremy Higgins.

This was the case where a male and female came to Higgins’ apartment looking for someone for a possible drug deal and the couple had the wrong apartment. Higgins was shot to death in front of his friends after he tried to disarm the male subject.

Unlike the case involving Fredrick and Cynthia Cashner, which seems like a slam-dunk case to prosecute, Portage police have still not solved this case.

On a lighter note ...
Last October I wrote about the dilapidated conditions of the skate park at Woodland Park in Portage, citing splintered ramps, weathered rails and public safety hazards.

Today, at 4 p.m., the Portage Parks Department is hosting a meeting to elect representatives to serve as advisers to the department’s skate park committee. Any skateboarders or bicyclists are encouraged to attend to voice their concerns and become a part of the solution.

The meeting takes place in the park’s Blue Spruce room. Be there or stop complaining.

Speaking of complaining ...
I receive consistent phone calls and emails from Gary residents who are upset with "nothing but bad news about our city in the Post-Tribune," as they tell me.

Even if I cite positive columns I have written myself about Gary, such as my Easter Sunday column on a teen boy’s miraculous recovery from cancer, these naysayers are hard to please.

However, here’s another piece of positive news coming from Gary and I hope those critics, among others, take notice. If anything, for Gary youth, for whom this news is about.

The Gary Pride Baseball/Softball League program is back this summer and it’s looking for kids ages 8 to 18 to register to play ball. The goal of the program is to install Perseverance, Respect, Intelligence, Dedication and Excellence (P.R.I.D.E.) in players, coaches and parents.

Adonia Community Service Inc., the agency that was recently featured on ABC-TV’s "Secret Millionaire" show, is accepting registrations at its office at 1601 Broadway through Friday. The program is also looking for volunteers to coach and umpire the games, as well as sponsors.

Children without a parent will need their parent’s consent with an address and phone number. For more information, call 885-5711.
















Portage woman killed inside business; estranged husband in custody

April 25, 2011 4:30 pm
By Jeff Burton
http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/porter/portage/portage-woman-killed-inside-business-estranged-husband-in-custody/article_e179c20e-9d92-5793-9269-f024207e06ad.html




A woman was shot and killed at Mystic Moons Herbal Shoppe in Portage on Sunday night.






Fredrick Cashner. Photo provided by the Porter County sheriff's department.


PORTAGE - One man is in police custody after an apparent Sunday night homicide at a Portage herbal store.

According to Portage police, officers were called to the Mystic Moon Herbal Shoppe, 5830 U.S. 6, about 10:30 p.m. Sunday after dispatchers heard faint breathing on an otherwise silent call.

When officers arrived, they found signs of forced entry and began checking the building.

On the second level, officers found Cynthia Cashner, 50, lying on the floor next to a telephone. Police said Cashner was shot multiple times with a high-powered rifle. Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris said Cashner was pronounced dead at the scene.

While police were investigating, dispatchers received a call from Cashner's adult son requesting the Porter County Sheriff's Department conduct a welfare check on his stepfather, who allegedly told him he had just shot and killed his estranged wife.

Officers from Porter County SWAT surrounded the man's Jackson Township home and apprehended Fredrick Cashner, 54, without incident.

Police said Fredrick Cashner, who was known to own an AK-47 assault rifle, initially refused to answer any questions about the incident.

Cashner was booked into Porter County Jail on Monday afternoon, according to the Sheriff's Department.

Porter County Prosecutor Brian Gensel said formal charges against Fredrick Cashner are expected to be filed Tuesday.

A forensic autopsy on Cynthia Cashner also is scheduled for Tuesday morning, Coroner Chuck Harris said.

At the scene Monday afternoon, a window on the door leading to Cynthia Cashner's store showed damage and was covered in duct tape.


A woman who declined to be identified said Cynthia Cashner resided in part of her second-story store, which specialized in herbal medications, remedies and treatments, as well as healing stones and other natural healing items.















Husband held in Portage shooting death of wife 
by James D. Wolf Jr. Post-Tribune correspondent
April 25, 2011 11:54AM
Updated: August 4, 2011 4:20PM
http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/5014280-418/husband-held-in-portage-shooting-death-of-wife.html

PORTAGE Problems at home drove Cynthia Cashner to sleep on an air mattress in her herbal business.


Cashner, shot multiple times inside the store on Sunday night with what appears to be an AK-47, had come to the building’s owner about a month and a half ago. Cashner and her estranged husband, Fredrick C. Cashner Jr., were having issues, so she asked At Nature’s Door owner Greg Fleischman if she could sleep in the shop.

"I said sure, it was not a problem," said Fleischman on Monday.

Cashner, 50, worked at Fleischman’s health food store for a year and a half, and he had lent her the upstairs space to start her Mystic Moon herbal business.

"She was very nice and caring," Fleischman said, "that’s why she became an herbalist."


Police have Fredrick Cashner, 54, in custody.

Fredrick Cashner was booked initially on a murder charge, but the Porter County prosecutor has not officially filed charges. The state does not allow bail for murder charges.

The incident happened at Mystic Moon, 5830 US 6, Suite B, between Swanson and Willowcreek roads.

Police responded to a 911 phone call at 10:22 p.m. Sunday where dispatchers heard only faint breathing on the other end.

Officers found signs of forced entry to the business and discovered the woman, who had been shot in the upstairs office multiple times by a high-powered rifle. The business phone lay near her.

"He came prepared because the door he broke has a burglar glass," Fleischman said, who expects the building must have been shaking.

While police were at the scene, the 911 center received a call from Cynthia Cashner’s adult son, who told dispatchers that his stepfather called and told him that he had just shot his estranged wife to death.

Portage police then contacted the Porter County Sheriff’s Police for assistance in going to the residence and talking to the Fredrick Cashner.

Police believed from evidence at the murder scene and during the investigation, that Cashner owned an AK-47.

Once police obtained a warrant, the county SWAT team entered the residence and took him into custody without incident.

Cashner refused to answer any questions during interrogation at the Portage Police Department. Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris said a forensic autopsy of Cynthia Cashner is scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday. He expects results to be available about 4 p.m.

Harris declined to give a possible cause of the death or confirm reports that the woman had been both shot and stabbed.

Harris did say that she hadn’t been hospitalized after police discovered her.

Cynthia Cashner filed for divorce March 23. On April 5, Magistrate James Johnson’s court filed a provisional order that gave her a 1999 Cadillac and him two other vehicles. He was named responsible for all marital bills and required to keep her on his health insurance during divorce proceedings.

Post-Tribune reporter Chelsea Schneider Kirk contributed to this report.