Prosecutors upgrade charges in Norfolk teacher’s murder

Posted at 3:50 PM, Apr 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-11 15:51:00-04

NORFOLK, Va. - Prosecutors are now charging Edward Shaw with first degree murder in the death of beloved teacher Caroline Hendrix.

Both Shaw and Teniqu Cushman faced a judge on Wednesday for a preliminary hearing. Cushman is charged with conspiracy to commit murder. A judge ruled there is enough evidence to move the case forward.

Prosecutors say Edward Shaw mistook Hendrix for her friend and shot her outside of a home near Wards Corner on New Year's Eve. Shaw was originally charged with second degree murder, but prosecutors amended the charges on Wednesday.

During the hearing, Hendrix's friend Alex Novack testified about the night she died. She says the two were best friends and stopping by a home Novack was watching. At one point during the visit, Hendrix and Novack noticed a man outside acting suspiciously near a white car. Novack says they decided Hendrix would leave the home first and drive around the block, while Novack would see what was going on with the man.

Novack then says he heard two gunshots and his friend screaming. Novack, an Army veteran with a concealed carry permit, ran outside and started shooting at the man. He says he fired five times. Shaw retreated and eventually left the scene. Police later caught up with him in Chesapeake, where they say he told them he was the victim of a road rage shooting, but investigators later determined that wasn't true.

Investigators also read emails and text messages they say Shaw and Cushman exchanged. Prosecutors say Cushman had romantic relationships with both Shaw and Novack, but was upset with Novack because someone had told her mom about a prostitution charge she faced. A Norfolk police detective says Cushman told Shaw she wanted Novack "gone." Shaw told her Novack needed more than a message, the detective said.

Kristin Paulding, Cushman's attorney, said Cushman wasn't upset with Novack and Shaw acted on his own. "We know that Ms. Cushman was not at the scene of the shooting and I really believe that she knew nothing about what Mr. Shaw was going to do," she said.

Shaw's attorney says the 70-year-old was not there that night. "There's not physical evidence at the scene," Eric Leckie said. "It's a wild story and I think it's going to be a very difficult case for the Commonwealth to prove."

The case now heads to the grand jury, which will decide in May whether to indict the two.