Homicide victim’s family finds Roseburg slaying ‘mind-boggling’

A 23-year-old Roseburg woman, slain in an April 29 shooting, died about four hours after being shot once in the abdomen, according to a police affidavit.

A second gunshot victim was wounded in the left shoulder, though Douglas County prosecutors have identified a third woman as the intended target.

Michael Carl Robert Gardner, 19, has been charged in Douglas County Circuit Court with murdering Ashley Nicole Davis at a residence in the 1600 block of Jacobson Street in Roseburg.

He also has been charged with attempting to murder Mary Altman Acosta, though police say the other shooting victim was Kathy Ann Marshall, 51, of Roseburg.

An indictment filed by prosecutors and police affidavit offer few details about a motive or the circumstances of Davis’ slaying. Calls to police and prosecutors were not returned today.

Davis’ sister-in-law, Chenee Curtis of Roseburg, said Monday that Davis didn’t live in the house and that family members don’t know why she was there or how she knew Marshall, who is listed as a resident in a phone directory. The number has been disconnected.

“We don’t know why she was there or how she knew them. It’s mind-boggling,” Curtis said. “We have heard so many different stories. None of it makes any sense.”

Gardner, who was arraigned last week, is being held in the Douglas County Jail without bail.

Besides murder and attempted murder, Gardner is charged with two counts of unlawful use of a weapon and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

According to the police investigation, Gardner locked himself inside what detectives called “Ashley’s bedroom.” Davis and Acosta attempted to enter the locked bedroom, and Gardner fired several rounds from a pistol at about 8:40 p.m., striking Davis in the abdomen and wounding Marshall in the shoulder, police said.

Gardner ran from the home before officers arrived, while Davis tried to leave in a vehicle but crashed into the yard of a neighboring house, police said.

Davis and Marshall were taken to Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg, where Davis died from her injuries at about 12:40 a.m. Marshall was treated and released.

Arriving at the crime scene, police quickly identified Gardner as a suspect. Sgt. Aaron Dunbar had dispatchers search through files for “Michael Gardner” and discovered Gardner had three outstanding warrants in Polk and Tillamook counties.

Dunbar also found Gardner’s photo to identify him, police said.

A tip led police to Gardner about an hour later at a friend’s home in the 1500 block of Northeast Morris Street, just a few blocks away from the crime scene. Officers went to the residence, saw Gardner inside and took him into custody at about 9:50 p.m.

The friend told investigators that Gardner had told him he fired warning shots at a woman earlier that night at a residence on Northeast Jacobson Street, according to police.

Police said they served a search warrant at about 4 a.m. for a backpack seized with Gardner and found rifle ammunition.

The police affidavit does not state a motive for the shooting or the relationship between Gardner and the victims.

Family of both Gardner and Davis said they are also unclear on the relationship between them.

Gardner’s aunt, Christine O’Connell, who lives out of state, said in an email last week that she thought Gardner may have known them through his girlfriend, whom she only knew as “Mary.”

According to court records, Gardner was convicted in Polk County in 2013 of first-degree criminal mischief and is wanted for violating parole. He faces a pending third-degree escape charge from 2013 in Tillamook County.

Curtis said Davis was working at C & B Stripping & Sealcoating, a business her family owns, in Roseburg.

Curtis described Davis as a kind-hearted person who was close to her friends and who considered them family.

“She enjoyed the mountains, motorcycles, animals and her nieces and nephews. She always wanted to take them places. Her nieces and nephews were her life,” she said.

Davis’ family has set up a donation fund at Cascade Community Credit Union under Chris and Chenee Curtis’ names to help with the cost of funeral services.

Davis’ service is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Friday at Pearson’s Funeral Home, 2305 N.E. Diamond Lake Blvd.

• Reporter Jessica Prokop can be reached at 541-957-4209 and jprokop@nrtoday.com.


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The News-Review Updated May 6, 2014 12:51PM Published May 21, 2014 05:23PM Copyright 2014 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.