Molly Howard's family grieves after murder conviction

May. 16, 2013 @ 11:00 PM

Molly Howard’s children and family are trying to move forward after the man responsible for her death was sentenced to 25 years in prison last month following his conviction for second-degree murder in Cosby.

Howard died from a shotgun blast on June 7, 2010, inside the apartment of Randy Ray Ramsey, the man convicted of killing her. The 33-year-old woman was a Sevier County native and graduated from Sevier County High School.

Ramsey claimed it was an accidental shooting; he reportedly told authorities Howard was his live-in girlfriend, and the gun accidentally went off while he was moving it. He called 911 after the shooting, but emergency responders were unable to save her life.

But the jury believed prosecutors, who said tests showed there was only a miniscule chance of the gun accidentally discharging and that Howard was lying on the floor when it happened – not standing, as Ramsey claimed. He was one of several people previously convicted on federal charges involving the sale of drugs at the Park Entrance Grocery on Cosby Highway.

His 25-year sentence on the murder charge will run concurrently with a 66-month sentence on those charges. Judge Ben Hooper II ordered Ramsey to serve the full term before being eligible for parole.

Kim Howard is Molly’s ex-mother-in-law. While Molly’s relationship with her son, Randy Howard, was tempestuous at times — Molly once had a restraining order against him — Kim has custody of the couple’s two children.

Molly lived in a trailer beside Kim's house on Jones Cove Road, Kim said, not far off Newport Highway. Molly’s children visited Kim frequently.

Kim doesn’t believe Ramsey and Molly ever dated. She said Molly was trying to reconcile with her son.

“I really don’t know how (Molly and Ramsey) met, to be honest with you,” Kim said.

At one point, Kim saw Ramsey at the home with another man. Molly said they were there to work on a car.

Kim said he gave her a bad feeling even on that one visit. "She told them not to ever set foot on that property (again),” Kim said.

It got worse when he started calling her incessantly right after he left that day.

“When they left, I was talking about the Randy guy and I said, ‘Molly, there’s something wrong with him ... These two children, I don’t want them around him.’”

It was just a few weeks later, she said, when she got the awful call telling her Molly had been killed.

She acknowledges that Molly abused prescription drugs, and believes that might have been why she went to see Ramsey the day she was killed. “Molly had issues, she did, I’m not going to lie," Kay said

Kim thinks Molly may have also told him about plans to move, and that she was reconciled with Kim’s son.

Ramsey’s defense attorney, Jessica Sisk, and his family, declined to speak to The Mountain Press for this story. Sisk indicated they were discussing options for filing an appeal of the ruling.

“While the trial and sentencing phases of this case have concluded, this matter is an ongoing criminal proceeding, and therefore, we refrain from making any comments at this time,” she said.

But Molly Howard’s family is trying to move ahead. Her mother died not long after her killing, but her father still lives in the area. Kim Howard is raising Molly's children.

Kim grieves for Molly, saying she was a talented woman who was working on finishing her college degree.

Kim said she spoke on the children's behalf at the sentencing. "I was their voice," she said. "I said, 'Please do not be lenient with him. He wasn’t lenient with their mother.'”

jfarrell@themountainpress.com