5-year-old New Albany fire survivor in court for pre-trial conference
NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WDRB) -- The family of a 5-year-old girl who survived a fire that killed her three siblings in January brought her to court for a pre-trial conference Tuesday in the hopes that they could see the people suspected of setting the fire face-to-face.
Eighteen-year-old Cody Cashion is accused of firing a flare gun into the home on Ealy Street in New Albany on Jan. 4.
Cashion is charged with three counts of murder and one count of arson in connection with the Jan. 4 fire in the 300 block of Ealy Street. Three children -- 6-year-old Tai'zah, 4-year-old Tyrese and 2-year-old Trinity -- died in the fire.
Two other suspects have also been charged in connection with the fire: 19-year-old Kylie Jenks and 18-year-old Shelby Makowsky. Prosecutors say Jenks, Makowsky and a 17-year-old juvenile were in the car when Cashion allegedly fired the flare gun into the bedroom where the children were sleeping.
Five-year-old Taty'Ana was the only child who survived the fire. She was recently released from a hospital in Indianapolis and welcomed back to New Albany with a parade.
Every day has brought healing for the family, and family members tell us that bringing Taty'ana to court, with burns still visible on her body, is part of that healing.
Taty'Ana's grandmother, Marie Clark, explained why they decided to show up for Tuesday's proceedings.
"I want her to know who took her siblings from her," Clark said. "She keeps telling me she wants them back."
"I wanted them to see," Clark added. "If I could -- and if it wasn't for people probably telling me I was cruel -- I would take her clothes off and let them see, but I won't do that to her."
Clark continued: "I want them to see the pain, I want them to see what they did to my family, to my life, to my daughter's life, to my grandbaby's life. I want them to know, I want them to see, because I have to get justice for my babies. I have to."
The Hughes family will have to wait a little longer for a face-to-face encounter with the people accused of starting the fire. Cashion, Jenks and Makowsky were not required to attend the pre-trial hearing.
It was more procedural, with prosecutors and the teens' defense attorneys making sure they're still on track for trial. This morning, Taty'Ana appeared happy, running the halls of the Floyd County courthouse after the hearing.
But Clark says Taty'Ana is still coming to terms with the loss of her siblings.
"She'll say they're in heaven and then she'll say she wants them back and then she'll say things like, 'Me and Taizah are going to have tea' ... as if they're still here. So you're talking about the mind of a five year old. Some days are good, some days are not."
Prosecutors say the case against a minor also charged in connection to the fire is proceeding in Juvenile court.
"We have august trial dates for the other individuals involved, and Mr. Cashion is set for July," said Floyd County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Steve Owen.
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