MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Jury selection is underway in the case of a young mother who was killed right before her family sat down to Thanksgiving dinner in Minneapolis.
Raven Gant was killed on Nov. 28, 2019, as her 2-year-old child was close by.
Officers say her ex-boyfriend Randall Watkins killed her when she went to pick up clothes from the house they once shared.
Every childhood is full of ups and downs, but R’Jayah has experienced lows few adults will ever know. She was the one who pointed police to her mother’s body.
She now lives with her grandmother, and Raven’s mother, Lakecia Gant.
“She can’t stand to see a police car, she can’t stand to see an ambulance. She sees an ambulance, she says, ‘Grandma! Grandma! We have to drive faster! We have to get closer! My mom’s back there, we gotta get her out of there!’” Lakecia said. “It’s a tragedy for a child to go through what she’s going through.”
At age 27, Raven was thriving. She was a new mom with a budding career in hospitality management.
“I don’t ever think I’ll be able to get through that day like I would have, thanking God for blessing us for all the things he’s done for us throughout the year,” Lakecia said. “Now I’ll be spending that day grieving my daughter, and at her gravesite wishing that she were here with us.”
It’s a feeling Lakecia wants to protect others from. She’s starting “Be Their Voice,” a foundation in Raven’s honor to protect domestic violence survivors and spread this message.
“As soon as the first slap, the first punch, get away from it, because it won’t get better, it will only get worse,” Lakecia said. “And we don’t want to have to bury another mom.”
Lakecia is now raising R’Jayah — and preparing to take the witness stand in her daughter’s honor.
“I’m a little bit nervous about it, but I’m anxious because I want to get up there and represent my daughter well, and let the world know the type of person that she was,” Lakecia said.
The long-term goal is to build a women’s shelter in Raven’s honor. For now, the family is concentrating on the trial, which starts Friday.
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