A Minneapolis man was sentenced Friday to 40 years in prison for fatally shooting the mother of his child last Thanksgiving Day.
Randall Watkins, 41, was sentenced for killing 27-year-old Raven Gant, according to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.
On Oct. 23, a jury convicted Watkins of one count of intentional second-degree murder, one of unintentional second-degree murder and one of being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm.
“What makes this all the more devastating is that their child was present when her mother was killed,” Freeman said in a news release. “Domestic violence cases like these are heartbreaking, and we hope the family of Ms. Gant can find solace now.”
According to the charges, officers responded to what was initially reported as a domestic dispute, then a shooting, last Nov. 28. Watkins was at the door and was arrested by police, who found Gant lying on her back in the doorway between the kitchen and dining room with a gunshot wound to her left back. Gant died that night at North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale.
When police entered the home, they saw a 2-year-old girl in the dining room and asked her where her mother was. The girl said her mother was on the floor. Watkins said the girl was his child.
Gant’s father arrived and told police that Gant would not let her out of the house. He and other witnesses said Gant had been trying to get away from Watkins for some time and that Watkins had beaten her.
Gant’s father said he tried to confront Watkins about those injuries at the time they occurred, but Watkins had a gun and shot him in the back as he was about to drive away, the complaint states. Watkins had also taken all of Gant’s and her daughter’s clothes and would not return them.
Earlier that day, Watkins called Gant and told her she could meet him at the house at 9:30 p.m. and he would return her belongings.
Watkins also has a prior murder conviction from Illinois in 1995, when an argument over a small amount of money led him to shoot his friend in the back of the leg and head, all according to the complaint.
The 40-year sentence was the maximum amount of prison time Watkins could receive.