Murder victim’s family devastated, mourning as suspects face judge

Blackstone Valley

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The young couple accused of killing a Pawtucket woman on New Year’s Day faced a judge once again Wednesday morning, the next step in their case after a grand jury indicted them last week on charges including murder.

Cheryl Smith, 54, was found shot multiple times at her home on Baxter Street. On Wednesday, her family spoke to Eyewitness News for the first time, saying they are devastated and “having a difficult time dealing with this,” according to Smith’s cousin Sean Bray.

The family doesn’t know why Shaylyn Moran, 19, and Jack Doherty, 24, might have killed her, and Bray said it was heart-wrenching to see the two suspects in the courtroom.

“I do not look forward to seeing them again,” he said.

Police have not revealed a motive for the shooting but said Moran had previously been in a relationship with Smith’s son.

Wednesday was the first time Moran and Doherty had appeared in court together since the incident. Each was arraigned on charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy, and discharging a firearm with death resulting.

An attorney for Moran entered a plea of not guilty on her behalf; an attorney has yet to be determined for Doherty so the judge entered a not guilty plea for him.

Court documents filed last month showed officers’ beliefs that the couple had communicated on their phones before and during the homicide and posted to social media shortly after the shooting took place.

Both suspects are due back in court for a status conference on Tuesday, Feb. 18.

While they have been trying to come to terms with her death in the six weeks since, Bray said, “Cheryl’s family will be a part of the process going forward to make sure that she gets the justice that she deserves.”

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