A Greenwood man will spend the rest of his life in prison for the murder of an elderly couple.
Michael Emory, 33, and his longtime girlfriend, Christiana Evick, 31, were sentenced Nov. 1 for the April 2012 murders of their former landlords, Harvey and Carolyn Cashwell.
Emory pleaded guilty to first-degree murder Sept. 11 in Sussex County Superior Court. On Sept. 18, Evick pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide.
Deputy Attorney General Christopher Hutchison said Emory entered the Cashwells' Greenwood home at night; he shot Harvey while the 76-year-old sat on his couch watching television. Hutchison said Emory chased down 66-year-old Carolyn before slaying her as well. “Mr. Emory didn’t think twice about going into that house and assassinating two people,” he said.
Delaware State Police found the Cashwells slain in their home April 26, 2012 -five days after the murder occurred.
The Cashwells' niece, Wanda Corder, spoke before the sentencing and recalled entering the home of her aunt and uncle after the murder. “The decomposition smell hit our faces the second we opened that kitchen door,” she said. “Then we entered the family room and saw the blood.”
Corder said special containers had to be purchased for the couple's burial because of the gruesome condition of the bodies. “We have had many sleepless nights,” she said. “They were the glue that held our family together.”
Before he was sentenced, Emory apologized to the Cashwells' family, and he said he knew he would spend the rest of his life in jail. “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t wish I could take it back,” he said.
Emory also apologized to Evick, who was not in the courtroom at the time. He said he spent 17 years forcing her to do what he wanted, often leaving her bruised and battered.
Jerome Capone, Emory’s attorney, gave his condolences to the Cashwells' family, many of whom were sitting in the courtroom, and commended Emory for trying to become a better person. “A person can be transformed over time,” Capone said. “The defendant you’re sentencing today is not the same person as 18 months ago.”
Judge T. Henley Graves said Emory committed a heinous act. “This was not something spontaneous,” he said.
Graves said the murder was likely less traumatic for Harvey - who was shot immediately. “But his wife had to experience the terror of knowing there was somebody in the house who had killed her husband and was hunting her,” he said.
Graves said he had little discretion in the sentencing; first-degree murder carries a mandatory life sentence.
Emory was sentenced to four life sentences for four counts of first-degree murder, plus more than 200 years in prison for other charges, including first-degree robbery and burglary, and possession of a firearm during commission of a felony.
Emory embraced Capone and said goodbye before he was escorted from the courtroom.
Evick was sentenced separately about an hour later. Her attorneys, Michael Andrew and Thomas Pedersen, said Emory deserves to die in jail, but Evick was unaware of Emory’s plan to rob and kill the Cashwells.
Andrew said Emory abused Evick verbally and physically throughout their relationship. “For 16 years, calling her demeaning names,” he said. “Striking her so hard that her teeth knock out.”
“She’s got three teeth, your honor; three of her front teeth,” Pedersen said.
Andrew said Evick had been conditioned to do what Emory said, so she drove him to the Cashwell home, but did not participate in the robbery or the murder.
“She should have abandoned ship when she saw Mr. Emory get out of the car,” Andrew said. “She made a mistake.”
Before she was sentenced, Evick apologized to the Cashwells' family, and said the elderly couple had always been kind to her and her children. “I just want to say that I’m sorry,” she said.
Mary-Beth Aviles, the Cashwell’s niece, also spoke before the sentencing. She said Emory and Evick held a grudge against the Cashwells for evicting them six months before the crime. “In my heart, I believe Christiana Evick is just as guilty as Michael Emory was,” Aviles said.
Deputy Attorney General Adam Gelof said the Cashwells worked hard and saved their money. “The Cashwells were everything Ms. Evick is not,” he said. “Every statement that she’s made, she’s lied.”
Gelof said Evick drove Emory to the Cashwell home, hid the gun he used to commit the crime and spent the money he stole from the couple. “Yet she comes into these interviews and says nothing about any of the money,” he said.
Gelof said Evick claims to be helpless, but she berated Emory in recorded phone calls and admitted to having an affair with one of Emory’s friends.
Gelof showed a video interview of Evick from December 2012, in which she asks police to give her back a truck that was purchased using the Cashwells’ stolen money. “The state doesn’t believe she’s accepted responsibility,” Gelof said.
“She entered a guilty plea,” Pedersen rebutted. “That is acceptance of responsibility.”
Graves said Evick knew there was a gun involved and that Emory was desperate for money. “You knew that he was up to no good,” Graves said.
“Yes, your honor,” Evick said quietly.
Graves sentenced Evick to 16 years for two counts of criminally negligent homicide, 17 years for robbery and burglary, and three years for possession of a deadly weapon during commission of a felony. He also ordered her to pay $12,000 in restitution.
“The aggravating factors overwhelm all the mitigating factors in this case,” Graves said. “I think, inferentially, she knew more than she’s putting on.”