- Associated Press - Sunday, July 20, 2014

NEW ALBANY, Ind. (AP) - A southern Indiana teenager pleaded guilty to three counts of murder after allegedly firing a flare into a home, igniting a fire that killed three young siblings.

Cody Cashion, 18, of New Albany also pleaded guilty Friday to one count of arson resulting in serious bodily injury in connection with the Jan. 4 fire. Under terms of a plea agreement, Cashion could receive 65 years in prison when he’s sentenced Aug. 18.

Cashion didn’t speak during a brief court hearing.

The fire killed 2-year-old Trinity Hughes, 4-year-old Tyrese Hughes and 6-year-old Tai’zah Hughes. Five-year-old Taty’ana Hughes was hospitalized for nearly two months.

The deal calls for the sentences for each count to be concurrently rather than consecutively, which could have resulted in a sentence totaling more than 200 years.

“I think they found out we had a fairly strong case,” Steven Owen, Floyd County’s chief deputy prosecutor, said of the defense.

However, Marie Hughes Clark, the children’s grandmother, said she and other relatives felt no agreement could compensate for the lives lost.

“It’s kind of what they (prosecutors) had to do to get an admission of guilty,” she said.

Authorities have said Cashion shot the flare into the home to retaliate for an alleged theft by a man who wasn’t there at the time. The Hughes children and their mother were visiting the home.

Cashion, along with Kylie Jenks, 19, New Albany, and Shelby Makowsky, 18, Clarksville, have each pleaded guilty to their involvement in the crime. Makowsky was sentenced in May to 20 years in prison on a charge of felony conspiracy to commit arson. Jenks has a plea hearing scheduled Monday and is expected to be sentenced to between six and20 years.

Cashion also faces charges including attempted murder in neighboring Clark County stemming from a police chase that led to his arrest.

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