PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — A New York man learned his fate Tuesday for shooting and killing a Pawtucket woman at point blank more than three years ago.

Jack Doherty, 27, received two consecutive life sentences plus five years for the murder of 54-year-old Cheryl Smith.

Doherty was found guilty of several charges back in November.

Prosecutors proved that Doherty knocked on the door of Smith’s Baxter Street home on Jan. 1, 2020, then shot her four times when she opened it. She was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

Jack Doherty and Shaylyn Moran (Photos: Pawtucket Police Department)

His co-conspirator, 22-year-old Shaylyn Moran, pleaded guilty last year and was sentenced to life in prison for her role in the murder.

Doherty had gotten engaged to Moran the night before the murder, prosecutors said, and the couple made plans to attack her ex-boyfriend. They decided to go to his house and shoot whoever answered the door, which ended up being his mother.

“This was nothing less than a cold and ruthless taking of a human life,” Assistant Attorney General Stephen Dambruch said Tuesday.

Smith’s cousin, Robert Gruslin Jr., spoke about his love for her.

“She had a kind heart and always cared about people near and dear to her,” Gruslin said in court.

“They always say that cousins are your first friends. This was true with my family,” he added.

Dambruch noted how evidence showed Doherty and Moran were quick to post about the crime on social media.

“He takes a photograph of himself and his codefendant in bed, with her holding up four fingers, the exact same number of shots that he fired at and killed Cheryl Smith with, and he puts the caption, ‘We some fighters and some shooters.’ He’s boasting about taking a life,” Dambruch explained.

The couple was arrested at a hotel several hours later, and police said Doherty was in possession of the ghost gun used to kill Smith.

In addition to first-degree murder, Doherty was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder, discharge of a firearm resulting in death, and possession of a firearm without a license.

Doherty’s defense attorney, John Calcagni, III, had sought to have him found not guilty by reason of insanity, but the jury rejected that in November.

For his sentencing, the state requested the maximum of two life terms plus 20 years.

By law, Doherty was subject to two mandatory, consecutive life sentences. However, the court had discretion to impose additional jail time – up to 20 years – based on his convictions of conspiracy and carrying a pistol or rifle without a permit.

“Given Mr. Doherty’s well known documented and undisputed mental illness in this case, your honor, I’m asking you to show him some measure of consideration and lenience for his illnesses by imposing the consecutive mandatory life sentences, but suspending that limited 20 years where you have discretion,” Calcagni said in court Tuesday.

Associate Justice Kristin Rodgers emphasized how a “multitude of steps” were taken by Doherty and Moran “to carry out this senseless act of violence, both before and after the murder.”

However, Rogers pointed out how experts who testified during the trial were in agreement that Doherty suffered from PTSD from substance use disorder and either bipolar type 1 or schizophrenia.

“It is for this reason, that being the defendant’s noted mental illness, albeit different diagnosis from forensic psychiatrists, that this court concludes it would be excessive to sentence the defendant to the maximum jail time that the state requests,” Rogers said.

“The state believes that the defendant cannot be rehabilitated, thereby asking for the maximum penalty. I don’t agree,” she added.

Rogers went on to say that with psychiatric treatment, “rehabilitation is possible over the course of the very lengthy sentence that he is still required to serve.”

As a condition of his sentence, the judge said Doherty has to continue with mental health counseling.

Doherty will receive credit for time served since Jan. 2, 2020, and Rogers said he will be under supervision for the rest of his life, if ever released on parole.

Attorney General Peter Neronha released a statement following Tuesday’s sentencing, saying how in this case, the “availability of illegal firearms has led directly to terrible tragedies; harming good people and taking lives prematurely.”

“The punishment handed down today will not return Cheryl to her family and friends, but it is my hope that this significant sentence will bring them a measure of justice,” Neronha wrote.