NORFOLK, Va (WVEC) – The uncle of a woman accused in the deadly shooting of a preschool teacher said he doesn’t believe the allegations against his niece.
"Pumpkin is one of the sweetest people you'd meet,” said Krist Stewart.
“Pumpkin” was the only way Stewart referred to Teniqu Cushman during his whole interview with 13News Now.
Stewart, who is a chef in Las Vegas, only heard of the allegations once we told him.
"Pumpkin would never have anything to do with this…NO," Stewart said.
Police say she had a hand in the murder of Caroline Hendrix, who wasn’t the intended target.
Prosecutors say Cushman orchestrated a hit on a lover she claimed was causing “mental abuse”. Accused killer 70-year old Edward Shaw, whom prosecutors say was also sexually and financially involved with Cushman, shot the wrong person.
"I don't believe it," Stewart insisted. “She’s a helper and a healer.”
Stewart said the last time he spoke with his niece was seven years ago at her grandmother’s funeral.
“She was the one who was supporting me. The first one to run to me catch me before I hit the ground,” he said. “I don’t care if it was 70 years ago. Pumpkin is not that kind of person. She wasn’t raised to be that way.”
Stewart said he never knew Cushman to have any relationship issues, and knew she was in line to get married.
“If Pumpkin was getting married, you had to be somebody really special. Because she was mostly focused on school and work,” Stewart explained.
He said he knows any hardships in her life would have been shared with family.
Both Shaw and Chushman are expected back in court in April.