Putnam County man pleads not guilty to murder charge - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Man pleads not guilty to murder charge in death of Johnny Cash's niece

Wayne Masciarella Wayne Masciarella
Courtney Cash Courtney Cash

A Putnam County man has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in connection to the death of Johnny Cash's niece and the attack of her boyfriend.

Wayne Masciarella appeared in court on Tuesday for an arraignment hearing.

The Putnam County grand jury indicted Masciarella on first-degree murder, first-degree felony murder charges and abuse of a corpse in Courtney Cash's death, attempted murder and especially aggravated kidnapping of William Johnson, who was Cash's boyfriend, and tampering with evidence.

Cash was the great-niece of Johnny Cash.

Authorities found Cash's body in a box insider her home on Rice Road on March 19.

Putnam County officials said Masciarella attacked Cash and Johnson.

Johnson, who was stabbed several times, was able to grab their 20-month-old daughter and run outside.

In an April preliminary hearing, Johnson testified about being tortured and held hostage for days prior to his escape.

He testified he was holding Cash in his arms as she spoke her final words.

"She looked up at me and I tried giving her CPR," Johnson said.

When he couldn't save Cash, he testified he saved their 1-year-old baby instead.

Shannon Ramsey, Cash's older sister, issued this statement on Tuesday:

"The truth has not been told. There is more than one side to this story. Our main concerns are that true justice for Courtney and Cameryn Cash is found. Another concern is that Cameryn Cash is raised in a loving, safe home, and that the family's able to provide the love, stability and support she not only needs, but deserves. We will focus on always keeping Courtney's memory alive, not only for her beautiful daughter but also for the rest of those who miss her dearly. Please continue prayers for Courtney's family. Our faith is the only think that's keeping our heads up. We appreciate everyone's love and support. Thank you."

Masciarella's next court date has been set for Nov. 13.

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