Three kids died from multiple gunshot wounds in Ponder murder-suicide

The three children killed in a Denton County murder-suicide died from multiple gunshot wounds, the medical examiner said on Thursday.

The medical examiner reports the children were found in the living room of a home in Ponder. The boyfriend of the mother, Seth Richardson, was found dead in the bedroom along with gunman and father Justin Painter.

Amanda Simpson, the sole survivor of the shooting that left three kids and two adults dead, continued to discuss how she’s feeling using Facebook Live on Thursday. She recorded the videos from her hospital bed the day after her ex-husband shot and killed the three children they had and her boyfriend before turning the gun on himself.

“Think about them. Don't think about me,” Simpson said on Thursday.

Odin, 8, and Caydence, 6, attended a school in Keller ISD. The district said it is devastated and pained by the loss. Counselors have been made available to students and staff. Their brother Drake, 4, also died.

Court documents obtained on Thursday show it was Painter who filed for the divorce.

“Justin couldn't accept that I made a decision to make myself happy,” Simpson said.

A temporary restraining order told Simpson to keep her distance from him. As the court explains it, that order is routine.

When the divorce was finalized in March, both parents agreed to share responsibility for the children, with Painter receiving primary custody.

But hours after the shootings, Simpson said on a Facebook video she told the judge she worried about Painter's mental state.

“And I made it very clear to the judge that he was mentally unstable,” Simpson said.

Because the case was decided in mediation, the court says there were no court hearings when that would have come up. Judge Nancy Berger released a statement:

"My heartfelt condolences go out ot the Painter family for the loss of their loved ones that they have recently experienced. It is very unfortunate and painful that the breakup of families can be further destroyed in such a senseless manner. It has come to my attention that statements and videos published during the past two days have implied that the judges of this court had ignored pleas to the court from Amanda Painter regarding her husband's mental health. The court's file is clear that no court hearings were held in this divorce. Amanda and Justin Painter waived contested divorce hearings in both the Associate Judge's court as well as in the District Court. The parties and attorney drafted and signed their own temporary orders and mutual injunctions which were then approved and signed by the Associate Judge. The parties chose to amicably settle and finalize their divorce dispute through a Mediated Settlement Agreement with an attorney/mediator. The parities, in their Mediated Settlement Agreement, denied any family violence and mental health issues. The only thing the judge was allowed to do under Texas law and her oath was enter the agreed, binding Decree based on the Mediated Settlement Agreement."

Simpson said she is overwhelmed by the town's response to the loss of her children. A memorial has been growing at a park pavilion in her neighborhood, where neighbors held a vigil Wednesday night.

“I wanna thank the town of Ponder,” Simpson said, tearing up. “They've set up a memorial for my kids at the playground... They're setting up a memorial at the playground and held a vigil yesterday."

Laura Kneeland is Richardson’s sister. She said her brother was a father to two young girls of his own. He quit his job in South Carolina on Tuesday and drove 16 hours to Texas to start a new life with Simpson.

“I guess they were a long time online friends,” Kneeland said. “And they found this mutual connection, and they were helping each other through their own hard times."

Kneeland said Richardson arrived in Ponder Wednesday morning and was killed two hours later.

"I think we're assuming he knew something was going to happen,” Kneeland said. “I just don't think he knew it was going to happen when he got there."

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