COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — On a cold spring afternoon, loved ones gathered Saturday to remember the great niece of Johnny Cash who was brutally murdered eight years ago.
Courtney Cash was 23 years old when investigators said she was stabbed to death and stuffed in a box at her Putnam County home. Her 20-month-old daughter, Cameryn, was home as well as her boyfriend, Austin Johnson.
“Spring time is a time of rebirth and renewal,” Courtney’s stepfather Ken Young said. “But sadly for us, it’s a reminder of the worst day of our lives.”
Two years after Cash’s murder, Wayne Masciarella pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and is now serving a 15-year sentence. Cash’s family, however, believes others were involved in her murder.
“I think there’s more involved than what’s been publicized. There’s evidence that points the finger in other directions,” Young said.
Now the family is asking for a new set of eyes on the case. On Saturday, other community members showed up to support them and also ask for further investigation into their loved one’s deaths.
“I want them to agree to appoint somebody from out of this jurisdiction to come in here and re-examine our case and all the other ones. That’s all we ask,” Young said.
In the meantime, Cash’s parents are now raising her 9-year-old daughter.
“She calls my wife Gigi. And she called me in one night, this was years ago, and she said, ‘Papa, I need to talk to you privately.’ And I said, ‘Okay, what’s up?’ She said, ‘I want to know how my momma died.’ And she said, ‘Gigi won’t tell me because she thinks I’m not sophisticated enough to know. I mean, what do you do?’” Young said.
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News 2 reached out to District Attorney Bryant Dunaway to ask if he would consider allowing another agency to review Cash’s case.
He shared the following statement with News 2:
“I have great sympathy for family members who have lost loved ones due to the criminal act. I often see that their grief can be overwhelming. I pray for their peace.
The murderer of Courtney Cash, Wayne Masciarella, pled guilty to Second Degree murder and is in prison today. The family has stated to me that they feel that Austin Johnson should have been charged as well. The evidence just does not support that position. This office can only ethically charge and prosecute persons for criminal offenses where there is a good faith belief that the evidence will support a conviction. In this case, the evidence available indicated only Maciarella as being the murderer.”
Yet the request is one the family won’t back down from.
“Justice matters, truth matters, and I owe it to my late step-daughter; I owe it to my wife, her family, and her daughter Cameryn who we’re raising to see this through. To see that we get the justice that we deserve,” Young said.