SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Five months after being found guilty of murder in the death of a 42-year-old Sioux Falls man, Ramon Smith now knows his fate. Smith was sentenced to life without parole along with 75 additional years on the aggravated assault charges for injuring two others with gunshots.

Ramon Smith

His victim, Larry Carr was a husband and father of four. For the first time, Carr’s widow is speaking out about what happened. Thursday’s KELOLAND News Investigation uncovers that Smith may still have been locked up in Minnesota when the 2019 murder went down in Sioux Falls.’

Tenessa and Larry Carr were married for 21 years. They had four children and four grandchildren.

“He was a wonderful husband. I couldn’t have been blessed with someone better in life. Wonderful father–he was the nurturer. I was the disciplinarian,” Tenessa said.

Larry came into Tenessa’s life when she had eight-month-old, Christina.

“He said ‘that’s not my stepdaughter and I’m not her stepfather because I didn’t step into anything. That’s my daughter,'” Tenessa said.

Larry was a maintenance worker and also a pastor.

“Very, very blessed and lucky to have such a man,” Tenessa said.

Tenessa says she and Larry finally had a weekend off in 2019 when her world was turned upside down.

“Saturday morning changed our lives, June 8th,” Tenessa said.

A coworker was outside of their apartment and Larry went out to talk to him.

“He was out talking, laughing, goofing off, like they always did. And Ramon came out and he basically said a few words and started shooting,” she said.

Tenessa’s view from inside her apartment was partially blocked.

Tenessa Carr: I only could see Larry. I heard the gunshots and I looked over at Larry and I seen red in his shirt. And I followed him up to his face. I scanned his whole body.
Kennecke: From the window?
Tenessa Carr: Yep, from the window, I scanned his whole body and I saw his face. I jumped over by bed and I told my son, ‘Call 9-1-1. Dad’s been shot.’ And I just ran out the door.

Smith shot two other men who survived. Larry Carr Junior did not.

“He took joy from us. We’re getting it back slowly. But will we fully get the joy we had with Larry Carr Junior being in our lives? Never,” Tenessa Carr said.

Apartment surveillance video showed Smith fleeing the scene a minute after firing the gun. He was arrested 12 days later in Minneapolis.

The scene outside of Carr’s apartment at 9th & Cliff in Sioux Falls on June 8, 2019.

Smith has a long record in Minnesota, going back to 2006 when he was sentenced to 15 years for attempted murder in a drive-by shooting.

He received a nine-year sentence for rape that same year. According to the Minnesota Department of Corrections’ website, Smith’s projected release date was February of 2022. However, Smith was released from prison in Minnesota in March of 2019, three months before he murdered Larry Carr.

“Larry would still be here, I know for a fact if he never would have been let out. But for all the times he’s been in prison, why would you let somebody like that out? For the reasons he’s been in prison, why would you let somebody out? I don’t understand. He’s a monster. He doesn’t care. He obviously doesn’t care about human life,” Tenessa said.

Tenessa not only lost her husband in the shooting, but her relationship with her oldest daughter, Christina, is also strained. The entire incident stemmed from a fight on social media that escalated into the parking lot that day. Christina was in a relationship with Smith’s sister, Martece Saddler and the two women took off after Larry was shot. They were apprehended in Utah and Christina faced accessory to a felony charge.

“Do I love her? I do. I’ll never stop loving her. She’s my daughter. Do I approve of the actions that she does? No, I don’t. Do I approve of the decisions she makes? No, I don’t,” Tenessa said.

She says Larry’s death has greatly impacted her other children as well.

“I’ll tell you, my son, Larry the third, he’s still so angry. And then you have James who cries because dad can’t teach me how to drive: like he taught everybody else–or dad can’t teach me to do this. You know, it hurts,” Tenessa said. “And then you have Olivia who just can’t figure out why because she was a daddy’s girl.”

Tenessa credits her faith and family for keeping her going, despite the loss of the love of her life.

“Because now I’m the matriarch. I’m the matriarch of the family. So I have to keep moving for them.”

The Minnesota Department of Corrections issued KELOLAND Investigates the following statement:

Smith was not released early from Minnesota DOC custody. He served the standard term of incarceration as explicitly defined in Minnesota statute, which meant he was released on supervision on March 13, 2019. While on standard supervised release, Smith was charged with new criminal offenses.  As a result of being charged with new criminal offenses, he returned to a MN DOC facility on July 12, 2019, and has been incarcerated since then. 

Aaron Swanum, Media Information Officer, Minnesota Department of Corrections.