DENTON, Texas — The mother of three children police say were killed by her ex-husband says she believes he was mentally unstable when they divorced.
Amanda Simpson survived what police say was Justin Painter’s fatal shooting of the children, her boyfriend and himself at her home in Ponder, Texas. She spoke in a Facebook Live video from her bed in a hospital in nearby Denton.
Denton County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Orlando Hinojosa identified the slain children as four-year-old Drake, eight-year-old Odin and six-year-old Caydence Painter. Also killed was 29-year-old Seth Richardson.
The rampage happened Wednesday at Simpson’s home in Ponder, population 2,000, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) northwest of Dallas and about 10 miles (16 kilometers) west of Denton.
In the video, Simpson expressed anger with the judge in her divorce suit, whom she said ignored her warning about her husband. She said she told the judge Painter had attempted suicide.
“Because I don’t know if anybody knows, but Justin tried to commit suicide a year ago. And I made it very clear to the judge that he was mentally unstable,” she said. “And they didn’t listen, so now I don’t have my babies. You guys know they were my everything, my purpose to breathe.”
After the divorce, Painter had hoped for reconciliation “and I told him I couldn’t. He didn’t like it. He didn’t like it,” Simpson said. She was planning a life with Richardson, and “Justin couldn’t accept that,” she said.
She said she was worried that she could not afford funerals for the children, so she may have their bodies cremated and carry their ashes. “I may be moving back to Virginia for a while,” she said.
A GoFundMe account has been set up for the family.
For now, she’s awaiting surgery Friday to remove a bullet lodged under a shoulder blade. “They want me to sleep,” she said of her doctors and nurses. “I can’t sleep. Every time I close my eyes, you guys don’t want to know what I see,” she said.
“Every time I close my eyes, I see my babies. I see them dead.”