Woman pleads guilty to conspiracy for murder of Norfolk teacher


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — On Wednesday, Teniqu Cushman pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder for her role in the New Year’s Eve shooting that killed Norfolk elementary school teacher Caroline Hendrix

As part of her guilty plea, Cushman has agreed to testify against the shooter, Edward Shaw, during his trial in March. Cushman’s lawyer says although she faces up to 10 years in prison for the conspiracy, pleading guilty was the best option.  

“It was going to be a tough case once there was a lot of evidence that the Norfolk Police Department put forth,” explained Cushman’s lawyer, Kristin Paulding. “I was most concerned that they were going to bring an actual first-degree murder charge against her and that was something I did not feel was appropriate based upon what the evidence showed and what her involvement was.”

Last December, Cushman was the center of a love triangle with Edward Shaw and Alex Novak. On New Year’s Eve, police say Shaw arrived at a home on Virginian Drive and opened fire into the driver’s side of a parked van.

According to the prosecution, the target was not the victim, Caroline Hendrix. They say those bullets were meant for Cushman’s other love interest. During the investigation police obtained e-mails and text messages between Shaw and Cushman, enough evidence to charge her with conspiracy to commit murder. 

Court documents say in those exchanges Cushman would complain to Shaw about Novak, saying he verbally abused her and made her feel upset and worthless. The documents go on to say Cushman told Shaw that Novak was responsible for her losing her job and she thought Novak had ruined her future. 

The investigation revealed in December of 2017 Cushman told Shaw that Novak needed to be”taught a lesson.” She then wrote to Shaw, “work your magic and fill me in as needed.”

Court documents say in a message Shaw confirmed with Cushman that she wanted Novak dead. When she replied “yes” he allegedly wrote back, “Because you and I discussed, if he dies and either of us gets caught… then we both are charged with ‘Conspiracy’ and both are equally guilty, regardless of who caries (sic) out the deed.”

Cushman will be sentenced in April. 

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