Murder-suicide led to death of Pleasanton woman and her daughter

'We don't know what her state of mind was,' police say

Police say it's unlikely anyone will ever know what led a mother to shoot her daughter, then shoot herself at their Stacy Court home in the early evening hours of May 7.

Investigators have been working for more than two months on the deaths of Amy Burton-Freeman, 36, and her 13-year-old daughter Ainsley Freeman. Much of that time was spent waiting for lab results, according to Pleasanton police Lt. Jeff Bretzing.

"Forensic evidence that we now have access to leads us to conclude that Amy shot and killed her daughter, Ainsley, then killed herself," Bretzing said in a Friday news conference. "We don't know what her state of mind was or what she was going through."

Forensic evidence awaited by police included an analysis of the handgun used in the double shooting, he said.

"Testing of the gun, the types of wounds, the location and nature of those wounds … the firearms, specifically testing those," Bretzing said.

Christopher Burton, Amy Burton-Freeman's husband, "was never a suspect," Bretzing said.

"He's been cooperative throughout the entire investigation," he said. "At this point there's no evidence anybody else was involved."

Police and the FBI were called by Burton-Freeman about a month before the shootings. She suspected her daughter has been in communication with an older man over the computer; the investigation turned up a 16-year-old boy in Kentucky.

Bretzing said FBI agents in Kentucky re-interviewed the boy and determined he was not involved.

Two handguns were recovered at the scene of the shootings. They'd been purchased out of state and were never registered in California, but Bretzing said failure to register them is not a crime.

Bretzing said the long wait to release information had to do with the backlog of cases at the county crime lab.

"We were working very closely with the Alameda County Crime Lab. They're very busy -- this isn't the only homicide they're working on in the county. Really, it has to do with the availability of their equipment and their ability to process our evidence."

There have been 63 homicides in Oakland this year alone.


Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Danville
on Jul 23, 2012 at 6:49 am

Why do I feel like the answer of the PD constitutes answers that don't explain. So Pleasanton is a member of a county that really just doesn't have time for them as their priority if their crime and gang infested Oakland area. Maybe it's time for some discussion as to which county Pleasanton should really belong to!

Like this comment
Posted by cardinal
a resident of Diablo
on Jul 23, 2012 at 9:20 am

One thing you can say about murder and suicide: they nearly ALways lead to death.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: *

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Livermore trustees demonstrating wisdom
By Tim Hunt | 11 comments | 1,352 views

Material Matters
By John A. Barry | 0 comments | 153 views


2017 guide to summer camps

Looking for something for the kids to do this summer, learn something new and have fun? The 2017 Summer Camp Guide features local camps for all ages and interests.

Find Camps Here