Husband charged in Portage slaying

2011-04-26T18:00:00Z 2011-04-27T09:01:52Z Husband charged in Portage slayingBy Jeff Burton, (219) 548-4354

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.

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