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Oct-13-2013 23:59printcomments

Oregon Mother of Two Shot and Killed by Estranged Husband

Motorcycle club disavows behavior of member.

Jessie Cavett
Jessie Cavett and her two girls. Photo courtesy: Kondash family

(SALEM, Ore.) - Jessie Cavett grew up in Salem. She was a 27-year old mother of two, and worked at the Bella Institute School of Cosmetology in Portland as an instructor. She loved spending time with her mother, her daughters, and making the most of every day.

Yesterday, her estranged husband came into her home and shot her, point blank, in front of her two little girls. She died at the hospital late last night.

36-year old Joshua Cavett's wife had a restraining order against him, and she had filed for divorce. Jessie had legal custody of their daughter, Paige. A volatile life was not new to Cavett, he has an extensive criminal history, and two other women had also filed restraining orders against him in the past.

"Jessie had a contagious smile," said friends.

The shooting happened around 11:30 a.m. at the Holly Ridge apartments in the 2700 block of West Powell Boulevard in Gresham.

Jessie's sister, Jennie Cochran, spoke to KATU about what happened immediately after the shooting. She said that Cavett left his 5-year old step daughter, Peyton, at the scene but took 2-year old Paige, the child the couple had together, with him when he fled.

A very brave Peyton was able to call one of her mother's friends for help, who then called 9-1-1.

A manhunt for Joshua Cavett went on for about ten hours, an Amber Alert released for little Peyton, and then he was spotted in Gresham when a man went outside to have a cigarette. Cavett called out to the stranger, who recognized him from the publicized photos, saying he wanted to turn himself in.

He did not put up a fight when the police arrived, he followed commands. The people that were there said that he seemed concerned for his daughter's safety, “He didn't fight at all....They told him to put his daughter down and he put his daughter down.”

Little Paige was taken by police and into state custody, and Cavett was put under arrest and is being held on $500,000 bail.

According to Portland's ABC affiliate, KATU, police have said that Joshua Cavett is a member of a "notorious motorcycle gang, the Gypsy Jokers", and that he holds the office of Sergeant at Arms. Incorrect on both counts: first of all, there is a motorcycle club called the Gypsy Joker Motorcycle Club, that operates within the law and according to their bi-laws. They are not a gang.

Regardless of reputation or rampant rumor, club membership does not mean a person is involved in criminal activity.

"Josh Cavett is not an officer of the Gypsy Joker Motorcycle Club, that's totally erroneous. He is currently a member, yes, but the club does not back him in any way. No 1% club condones murderers," said Mike Kondash, Tattoo Mike, the victim's brother.

"I am a Gypsy Joker, and her brother. For the record, he gets no support from any club member. In fact, I have a feeling he's not going to be a club member by the time he gets to prison."

Sisters, Jennie & Jessie, 2013

Some media outlets are hammering away at the opportunity to sensationalize this at every turn, because of the biker club connection.

“We keep being asked about retaliation between club members, even my sister was asked if she is scared. That's all ridiculous. This is a family tragedy and it needs to be respected as such,” Kondash said.

Many motorcycle club members are offended by the bias tone of the news reports. "NO ONE condones this behavior! It is not an acceptable part of motorcycle club culture!" wrote one club member's wife to the Oregonian.

"Believe it or not, we have actual real family lives, wives and children whom we care about. Members of the 1% community are shocked and saddened by this story and our hearts go out to this little girl. You could seriously use an update on motorcycle club culture, and the real meaning of the 1% percent patch ... You will find a very accurate story on the subject in the archives of the Salem-News publication (American Motorcycle Culture: The One Percenters), which by the way, is told by the brother of the shooting victim in your story."

The victim's family is anxious to learn everything they can about the event that has changed their lives forever.

"I understand that there is a possible witness to the shooting. We hope they will come forward with confidence that there is nothing to fear from the club, we are not standing behind this guy," Kondash added. "It's important that every one knows this terrible act, this violence isn't a reflection of the club. He is a bad guy and it's my sister that paid the ultimate price."

Josh Cavett has two older children from a previous relationship. According to family, those children were taken by the state some time ago and have been being raised by his parents.

Little Paige was saved by the police Saturday night, and she is now being held by the state. The toddler who has endured so much has not been returned to her family as of yet, the “word” is that she is being kept away for her safety.

Her maternal grandmother, Jessie's mother, has been instrumental in her care since birth. Through her grief, she will be attending a hearing on Monday to see that Paige is released to the love, comfort and safety of her family.

In the end, though there was technically one victim, the suffering multiplies and perpetuates like ripples in a pond. Jessie's family is looking for answers, but they believe they already know where the blame lies.

"It has nothing to do with motorcycles or motorcycle clubs," Kondash said. "The man who pulled the trigger is in custody."


Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Cardina March 11, 2016 3:29 am (Pacific time)

I just found out she was killed!!! This is horrible news!!!!!! and to know that the father of her baby and husband did well its really f$#&%* up...RIP Jessie heart goes out to children and family/ so so.sorry:(:(:(:(glad she had children to remind everyone of her.apart of her you. An see when u look at her daughters

Anonymous February 7, 2015 7:49 am (Pacific time)

I hope he suffers unspeakable agony in this life and the next.

Rebecca Devoe October 16, 2013 9:15 pm (Pacific time)

To the gentleman named Chris, I use the term gentleman loosely, You have no idea honestly what is truly at hand. Jessie was an amazing wonderful loving woman and a dedicated Mother, Sister, and friend to anyone who was blessed with the opportunity of meeting her even if it was for only an afternoon. What would you (Chris) have to say if the club had been the Eagles or Masonic Lodge? I have been blessed with knowing several of the GJMC members and they are hard working, loving family men that know the true and honest nature of the word Honor, Loyalty, Friendship, and Family. With that said I want to thank Bonnie for reporting the truth and for HONORING an Beautiful ANGEL that was called back WAY TOO SOON. My heart wrenches for her family's loss. If the world had more people like her and took the chance to toss aside their biases to get to know the real people under the tattoos,leathers and motorcycle helmets they would see how much better the world would be. Thank you again Bonnie for the truth.

Wowser October 16, 2013 5:34 pm (Pacific time)


H.C.R. October 15, 2013 7:48 pm (Pacific time)

Plenty of pointless pontification and punditry here, with mindless minions of malicious misdirection surfacing once again to purposely and pompously pervert and possibly puncture open and honest debate, much needed here. On a different note, complete lack of functioning typewriters in Heaven, other perks abundant however.

Whatever October 15, 2013 2:46 pm (Pacific time)

Hey Chris Troll: Disturbing and more offensive is your ridiculous comments! Sounds more like YOU are trying to perpetuate the notion that anyone BUT JESSE would be the victim here. Disturbing and very offensive is your disrespect for Salem-News and their well written, documented, quoted, honest story written with more integrity and perspective than any one source yet! You DO NOT "appreciate the other side of the story" that Salem-News is TRYING to represent???? Represented quite well is the correct terminology I'd say. I bet you got really good grades in cop school. R.I.P. Jesse...

Rusty in CB October 15, 2013 1:54 pm (Pacific time)

so nice to read a article that tells it like it is, I have known the JGMC for over 30 years and like any extended family sometimes a rotten egg gets in. So sorry for her familys loss

Desiree October 15, 2013 11:06 am (Pacific time)

Thank you for the honesty. I knew by reading this story from you I would feel like there was truely another piece of this story. Thank you Bonnie for always being so honest and caring. I believe this story is written with sadness and compassion in your heart.

Randolph Turner October 14, 2013 10:49 pm (Pacific time)

Jessie You Will Be Missed, You Have Always Been a Joy To Be Around and always with a smile on your face and Its sad that Evil reached you. Ever since the 5th grade you have been special R.I.P Friend!!!!

LanceThruster October 14, 2013 4:43 pm (Pacific time)

Such wanton and needless cruelty to inflict on this woman and her children.

Cecelia October 14, 2013 2:58 pm (Pacific time)

 I'm sorry for this woman and her family.

Eric October 14, 2013 2:39 pm (Pacific time)

Nice to see at least one news outlet that isn't chompping at the bit to bash on a club. I am sorrry for the families loss.

Chris October 14, 2013 11:35 am (Pacific time)

Although I appreciate the other side of the story that you are trying to represent here, I find it disturbing and offensive that you paint the GJ Motorcycle Club as the victim here. Although I'm sure it is common to have unflattering portrayals of the club put forth by the media, the club also has to own the fact that real life instances of violence, crime and drug use are what shaped these stereotypes. I do not object to the club trying to set the record straight at some point, it seems much to early to be seeing anyone as the victim but Ms. Cavett. Please save the "woe is me", "We are just a bunch of good guys", stuff for down the road.

Vic October 14, 2013 11:04 am (Pacific time)

Right on !

mr.x October 14, 2013 10:18 am (Pacific time)

A very well written piece indeed, uncommon these days.

Christina Wojcik October 14, 2013 5:47 am (Pacific time)

Thank you Bonnie for setting the story straight. We are all so shocked, saddened, angry, and broken hearted. Jessie was such a sweet young lady, it is so hard to accept that this has happened.

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