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Minneapolis man sentenced for shooting, killing the mother of his child

It happened on Thanksgiving 2019.

A Minneapolis man who shot and killed his former girlfriend while their young daughter was on the scene will be spending decades behind bars.

On Friday, 41-year-old Randall Watkins was sentenced to 40 years in prison for the murder of Raven Gant, who he shot in the back on Thanksgiving Day 2019.

According to the criminal complaint, police were already on their way to the scene on a domestic violence report when they arrived to find Watkins — and the 28-year-old Gant lying between the dining room and the kitchen with an apparent gunshot wound.

There was also a 2-year-old girl on the scene, later identified as the child of Watkins and Gant. When asked where her mother was, she replied, “she’s on the floor,” the complaint says.

Officers began lifesaving measures on Gant, but she was later pronounced dead at North Memorial Medical Center. Watkins was arrested at the scene.

The complaint says Watkins had previously taken all of Gant's and their daughter's clothes, and on the night of the murder, allowed her to come to his residence to get them back. The shooting occurred after she arrived to collect her belongings. 

According to a release Hennepin County prosecutors, Watkins also shot Gant's father on an earlier date, after the man confronted the defendant about having physically abused his daughter. The father told authorities he was shot in the back as he tried to drive away from the confrontation after realizing Watkins had gun.

Additionally, Watkins has a prior murder conviction from Illinois in 1995, "when an argument over a small sum of money resulted in him shooting his friend in the back of the leg and head," prosecutors say. 

Following a two-week trial, he was was convicted of intentional second-degree murder, unintentional second-degree murder, and one count of a prohibited person in possession of a firearm.

The 40-year sentence was the maximum amount of prison time Watkins could receive, the release says. 

"What makes this all the more devastating, is that their child was present when her mother was killed," Hennepin County Attorney Mike Frreeman said in a statement. "Domestic violence cases like these are heartbreaking, and we hope the family of Ms. Gant can find solace now that Mr. Watkins has been sentenced, and the case has concluded.”

If you know anyone who is affected by domestic violence, you can find more information on services available here, via the Minnesota DPS.

You can also call the Day One Crisis Hotline at 1-866-223-1111.

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