TN v. Robin Howington: Mother Daughter Murder Trial

Posted at 4:06 PM, March 8, 2024

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (Court TV) — A Tennessee mother has been found guilty of all charges in the shooting death of her 5-year-old daughter.

Robin Howington was convicted of six charges, including reckless homicide, in the Sept. 2019 death of Destiny Oliver. Court documents obtained by Court TV and testimony at trial detailed how Howington told authorities several different versions of what happened, including blaming an unknown intruder, Oliver’s biological father and lastly claiming her two-year-old son shot his sister by mistake.

Robin Howington sits in court during her trial.

Robin Howington sits in court on the second day of her trial, March 5, 2024. (Court TV)

While being interviewed by police, Howington admitted to trying to destroy her cellphone in a hospital bathroom “because she was scared about it containing evidence of drug sales.” She also admitted to wiping down and hiding the firearm after the shooting.

In March 2021, Howington’s defense filed a motion to suppress their client’s statement to police, saying her statement was not voluntarily given because she was “horribly distressed.” The motion claimed Howington told officers during her first police interview, less than two hours after the shooting, that she was “nervous” because she had been raped by a police officer. The motion also claimed one officer yelled after her during the interview, while another hugged her “without an invitation.” The motion was denied, and Howington’s defense had a heated exchange with one of the detectives during the trial about the interview.

Howington also took the stand in her trial, testifying that her two-year-old son accidentally shot his sister and called it a “tragic accident.” She claimed her actions following the shooting were to protect her son.

The jury deliberated less than two hours before returning their verdict. After the verdict was read, District Attorney Charme Allen said in a statement, “Thanks to the hard work of everyone involved in this case, a small measure of justice was achieved for a little girl whose life was tragically cut short.”

Sentencing is scheduled for April 19. Howington faces a minimum of 15-25 years in prison.

DAILY TRIAL HIGHLIGHTS

DAY 5 – 3/8/24

DAY 4 – 3/7/24

DAY 3 – 3/6/24

  • During the cross-examination of Det. Tim Riddle, the jury was briefly excused following a heated exchange with defense attorney Mike Whalen.
  • Kyle Osborne, currently with the U.S. Army crime lab, testified that he found gun residue on shorts and a gray Nike child’s t-shirt, (worn by Howington’s two-year-old son) as well as on a dress worn by Robin Howington.

DAY 2 – 3/5/24

DAY 1 – 3/4/24

  • A jury was seated to hear the case.
  • The prosecution and defense delivered opening statements.
  • The jury heard the 911 call from Robin Howington after her daughter was shot.
    • Howington could be heard telling the dispatcher that her daughter was shot and someone had just walked through the door.
  • Knoxville Police Officer Andrell Cummings testified that he saw Howington on her phone.
    • Cummings described the scene of the shooting as extremely quiet, and said nobody was yelling or screaming.
    • Cummings said that Howington was sitting on her phone and had a “calm demeanor.”