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Tennessee Woman Accused of Murdering 5-Year-Old Daughter Changed Her Story Several Times, Blamed the Girl’s Father and Toddler Brother, Police Say

A Tennessee woman is facing murder charges for the September 2019 shooting death of her 5-year-old daughter.

Robin Howington was indicted on a first-degree murder charge on July 1, as reported by the Knoxville News Sentinel. She is facing several other charges, including child neglect, false reporting and tampering with evidence. Destiny Oliver, her daughter, died from a gunshot wound on September 5.

Robin Howington (left) was charged with first-degree murder for the shooting death of Destiny Oliver (right), her 5-year-old daughter. (Photo: Knox County Sheriff’s Office/Dignity Memorials)

Howington initially told investigators an unknown assailant broke into her Knoxville home, shot the little girl and sped off in a black Chrysler 300, according to a search warrant written by Knoxville Police Department Investigator Tim Riddle. She later changed her story to shift the blame to Antoine Oliver, the child’s father, and claimed he escaped in a white Chrysler 300. After Howington picked him out of a lineup, she told investigators they had a “volatile relationship.”

That story fell apart after Daniel Hensley, her boyfriend, told authorities he saw Howington pull a gun on Antoine Oliver. No one was injured and Antoine Oliver was able to take the gun away.

After the investigators found a handgun hidden in the bushes at the home, they interviewed Howington again and she told them Hensley put it there. Footage captured by her neighbor’s surveillance camera showed her placing the gun in the spot. The search warrant stated Howington told investigators she cleaned and hid the gun because her 2-year-old son “climbed into her closet, retrieved the 9 mm gun from the top of her closet using a stool taken from the living room, and shot” his sister in the chest.

After the shooting, police say they attempted to take custody of Howington’s cellphone at the hospital, but she refused to turn it over. Authorities say she then went into a hospital bathroom to attempt to pass the phone to another woman. When the police took Howington into custody and took the phone, Riddle wrote, it was “wet and wouldn’t turn on or charge up.” She would later admit she put the phone under running water to destroy evidence of illegal drug sales, police say.

Howington has not entered a plea and is housed in the Knox County Detention Facility under a $500,000 bond, according to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office website. Her next court date is scheduled for July 17.

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