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.