Woman, 20, gets life in prison for role in Pawtucket murder

Blackstone Valley

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — A Pawtucket woman will spend the rest of her life behind bars for the murder of her ex-boyfriend’s mother last year.

Shaylyn Moran, 20, pleaded guilty to charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and carrying a pistol without a license in the shooting death of Cheryl Smith, 54, according to the office of Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha.

Moran was sentenced to life in prison for the murder, plus consecutive 10-year terms for the additional charges.

On the night of Jan. 1, 2020, Smith was shot several times in the chest at her home on Baxter Street.

The AG’s office said state prosecutors were prepared to prove that Moran was an accomplice in Smith’s murder which was allegedly committed by her fiancé, Jack Doherty.

In the months leading up to the shooting, Moran and Doherty developed a long-distance relationship and conspired to attack her ex-boyfriend, according to the AG’s office. On Dec. 31, 2019, Doherty traveled to Rhode Island from New York to visit Moran and brought a 9mm pistol with him.

The AG’s office said the pair rented a hotel room in Pawtucket and later attended a New Year’s Eve party, where Doherty proposed. When they returned to the room, the couple allegedly decided to go to her ex-boyfriend’s house and shoot whoever opened the door.

At Moran’s instruction, according to the AG’s office, Doherty surveilled the home and eventually knocked on the door, then shot Smith four times when she opened it. First responders rushed Smith to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Pawtucket police said Smith’s son tipped them off that Moran may be responsible, and court-authorized searches of the couple’s phones, social media and rideshare service accounts aided in their investigation.

The day after the shooting, detectives tracked down Moran and Doherty and arrested them as they left the hotel room. Police said Doherty was in possession of the handgun at the time.

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