NEW ALBANY, Ind. (AP) — A judge sentenced a southern Indiana 19-year-old to 65 years in prison after pleading guilty to three murder counts for firing a flare into a home and igniting a blaze that killed three young siblings.
Cody Cashion of New Albany received the maximum sentence Monday on each of the three counts and 50 years for arson. The sentences will be served at the same time.
"There's no excuse for what I did," Cody Cashion said. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry."
The Jan. 4 fire killed 2-year-old Trinity Hughes, 4-year-old Tyrese Hughes and 6-year-old Tai'zah Hughes and seriously injured their sister, 5-year-old Taty'ana Hughes.
Floyd Superior Court Judge Susan Orth said the maximum sentences were called for by the nature of the crime, the age of the victims and Cashion's lengthy criminal past. Cashion has been arrested for multiple battery charges since he was 12, and Orth said the defendant was, "unable or unwilling to conform to our laws."
The children's mother, Theresa Hughes, and their grandmother, Marie Clark, asked the judge to "give (their) babies justice,"
Clark said the surviving sibling, Taty'ana, asks almost daily about her brother and sisters and whether she can go see them.
"All I can tell her is 'One day, baby,'" said Clark, who was wearing a custom T-shirt with a portrait of Taty'ana and the caption "G-ma's surviving angel."
Under Indiana sentencing laws, the earliest Cashion could be released will be 2046, when he will be 51.
Authorities say Cashion shot the flare to retaliate for an alleged theft by a man who wasn't there at the time. The siblings and their mother were visiting the home.
Cashion and two others who were with him when he shot the flare each have pleaded guilty in deals with prosecutors. Kylie Jenks, 19, of New Albany, and Shelby Makowsky, 18, Clarksville, each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit arson. Makowsky was sentenced in May to 20 years in prison. Jenks faces six to 20 years in prison and is due to be sentenced Sept. 9.
Cashion also faces charges including attempted murder in neighboring Clark County stemming from a police chase that led to his arrest in the arson case.