Murder victim leaves behind two daughters who witnessed her shooting
Jessie Doyle-Cavett left her abusive husband and filed for divorce only to allegedly be fatally shot by him
She didn't want to cause a scene.
Jessie Doyle-Cavett, the 27-year-old Gresham woman who police say was shot to death by her estranged husband on Saturday, Oct. 12, was not thinking of her own well-being when she reluctantly open her apartment door to the man who allegedly killed her.
In an online statement from her family, Doyle-Cavett's sister Jennie Cochran outlined the terrifying moments leading up to her sister's violent death.
Neighbors didn't hear the gun shot.
They did hear Joshua R. Cavett, 36, of Portland banging on the front door of the woman's apartment in the 2700 block of West Powell Boulevard in Gresham at about 11:30 a.m. Saturday.
The man was screaming that he wanted to see Paige, their 2-year-old daughter, who Doyle-Cavett has custody of. Although Cavett is the girl's biological father, Doyle-Cavett had legal custody of the girl during their pending divorce.
Cochran said her sister was scared of Cavett, and was finally able to break free from him and their abusive relationship.
After filed for a restraining order against him and filing for divorce in August, Doyle-Cavett was starting fresh. Last month, she moved into her home at the Holly Ridge Apartments in Gresham, and began mending broken relationships with family and friends – relationships that domestic violence experts say often fall victim in cases of domestic violence as the abuser isolates the victim.
So on Saturday morning, with the man she fought so hard to escape, banging at her door, Doyle-Cavett told him no. She refused to allow him to see their daughter.
Then he began forcing his way in.
Doyle-Cavett did not want to make a scene in front of her new neighbors, her 5-year-old daughter from a previous relationship or the toddler who father was demanding to see her.
Once inside, a struggle ensued and Cavett reportedly shot the woman in the head at close range in front of her daughters. He fled the scene with his biological daughter, which later prompted an Amber Alert for both of them.
But he left behind the 5-year-old girl with her mortally wounded mother.
The girl found her mother's cell phone and called one of her mother's close friends. He called 911 and Doyle-Cavett was rushed to the hospital, where she was declared dead early Sunday, Oct. 13.
"As a family, we decided Jessie would want to help people," Cochran wrote, so the family decided to donate her organs. "She is going to save and improve lives even though it means losing hers."
Cavett is being held on $500,000 bail at the Multnomah County Detention Center on allegations of attempted murder and first-degree assault. The attempted murder charge will likely be changed to a no-bail murder charge during his arraigned Monday, Oct. 14.
Police arrested him at about 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, after two people recognized him from media reports about the Amber Alert for him and the toddler.
The residents were less than a mile away from the shooting and report seeing Cavett and a little girl walking around the grounds of an apartment complex in the 1500 block of Southwest Pleasant View Drive.
Police arrived at took Cavett into custody without incident.
It was a high-risk police contact. Cavett was considered armed and dangerous, both due to the nature of the shooting and due to his affiliation as a member of the Gypsy Jokers motorcycle gang, said Sgt. Claudio Grandjean, Gresham Police spokesman.
Plus, the suspect was in a densely populated apartment complex and with a small child, Grandjean said.
The girl was safe but taken to a local hospital as a precautionary measure. She has since been released.
Meanwhile, friends and co-workers of Doyle-Cavett said through Facebook that Doyle-Cavett had turned her life upside down to get away from her abusive husband.
About six months ago, Doyle-Cavett left her job as a hair stylist at a salon in Portland's Pearl District to get away from Cavett and "get her life in order," said a friend who asked not be identified.
"She was scared to death of that man," the friend said. "He beat the crap out of her, and she got him sent to jail. He told her he would kill her when he got out. I guess he followed through."
Jail records confirm that Cavett served three months in jail from Jan. 16 to April 15 for violating his parole on a third-degree assault conviction.
Before that, he was charged in 2011 with violating his parole on a third-degree assault conviction, and was in jail for nearly four months on that violation.
Doyle-Cavett's family is struggling to cope with their loss and are asking for prayers, "especially directed at ... Jessie's two strong little girls," Cochran said. "We make girls tough in this family. I know in my heart that those girls will be OK in the end."
Gresham police are looking for a woman who witnessed the fatal shooting of a Gresham mother of two. Keshia Moritz, 28, is 5 foot 6 inches tall, weights about 140 pounds and has lots of tattoos on her upper chest, a pierced nose and a pierced lower lip. Anyone with information on her or the shooting is encouraged to call the Gresham Police tip line at 503 618-2719 or 1-888-989-3505.