Minneapolis man sentenced for fatally shooting the mother of his child


Randall Watkins was sentenced to 40 years in prison for the shooting death of 27-year-old Raven Gant, the mother of their child, on Thanksgiving in 2019, the Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Friday.

On Oct. 23, after two weeks in trial, a Hennepin County jury convicted Watkins, 41, of the three counts he was charged with: 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 attorneys on this case did a great job in obtaining the maximum sentence possible for Mr. Watkins, who so tragically shot and killed Raven Gant, the mother of their child, on Thanksgiving a year ago,” Mike Freeman stated.

"What makes this all the more devastating, is that their child was present when her mother was killed. 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.”

According to the criminal complaint, police responded to what was first reported as a domestic dispute, then a shooting. 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. She died shortly before 11 p.m. at North Memorial Medical Center.

When police entered the home, they saw a two-year-old girl in the dining room and asked her where her mother was. The girl said her mother was on the floor, the complaint states. Watkins said the girl was his child.

Gant’s father arrived at the house while police were there and told them his daughter called him at 10:08 p.m. and said Watkins would not let her out of the house. He and other witnesses told police that Gant had been trying to get away from Watkins for a while and that Watkins had previously beaten her, resulting in two black eyes and other injuries, according to the complaint.

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 the clothes belonging to Gant and her daughter and would not return them.

However, earlier in the day, Watkins called Gant and told her she could meet him at the house at 9:30 p.m. and he would return all her stuff, according to the complaint. The autopsy found Gant was shot once in the left back.

Watkins also 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.