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 had 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.


Posted by Mike, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Jul 20, 2012 at 5:10 pm



Posted by michelle, a resident of Castlewood
on Jul 20, 2012 at 7:19 pm

I'm so sad to hear this news, but am glad our community and the family has some closure. I hope we can now find out who the girl is that was found in the garbage can and also what happened to her and who did it. She deserves justice.

RIP Ainsley

Posted by pTown Lover, a resident of Downtown
on Jul 21, 2012 at 9:45 am


Would be good for all parents to know what their kids are doing and VERIFY before taking action, if any!

Posted by Arnold, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 21, 2012 at 11:29 am

What was the overall cost to taxpayers of this long drawn out, very very expensive 'undertaking' by the police force, as well as other state agencies. Truth be told, an investigation like this should take no longer than a couple hours, and a police officer at half the wage could do it. But because of union rules and opportunities for overtime pay (and hence higher pensions), all our state workers feasted on this tragedy. It makes me furious to know that my children and grandchildren are going to pay for this awful gouging of the taxpaying public. See

Posted by Arnold, a resident of Oak Hill
on Jul 21, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Arnold said: "Truth be told, an investigation like this should take no longer than a couple hours, and a police officer at half the wage could do it. "

Oh? And on what authority are you basing your statement? I presume that you're some ex-homicide detective? A retired FBI agent? Nope. You're just a lot of hot air with an ignorant, two-bit opinion.

Posted by Truth, a resident of Birdland
on Jul 21, 2012 at 9:21 pm you are out of touch with reality! Stop watching TV shows and take a class on crime scene forensics....or even a free Citizens Academy at the PD and educate yourself before you make these types of comments....your embarrassing yourself.

Posted by Arnold, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2012 at 6:36 am

I've got to tell you, I'm not an ex-homicide detective, but I am a citizen taxpayer who follows where his tax dollars are spent, or misspent, as it were. You're looking for evidence? All you have to do is go to any dozens of blogs that tell you that ... THE TSUNAMI IS COMING!!! Do the math! We're broke! See Meanwhile our corrupt unionized public officials milk everything they can get out of overtime pay where they sit around and make the public think they're doing something important. Scranton is now paying its public employees minimun wage, and there has not been a single complaint. Why? Every one of these bloodsuckers know they're not worth more than minimum wage.

As an educated citizen I demand that all public workers return their bloated pensions. Yes, Staceleen, this includes you.

Posted by Joe, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jul 22, 2012 at 7:52 am

And true to form for the PW blogs, a story about a family tragedy becomes a twisted soapbox rant on public employee qualifications, incompetence, pay, and pensions that's full of suppositions ("long, drawn out"..."very, very") about which the accusor has no detail, fact, or information. Pleasanton, a Community of Characters -many of them not very nice...

Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill
on Jul 22, 2012 at 9:33 am

"Pleasanton, a Community of Characters -many of them not very nice.."

No, it's just a few characters out of a community with a population of over 70,000. and the reason the characters all show up on these forums is that they can't get anyone to listen to them in real life.

Posted by Glenn, a resident of Amador Estates
on Jul 22, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Glenn--Why have you included the picture of the girl? She is a minor and a victim. No need to include the picture for the story. Shame on you and your editor.

Posted by Ptown native, a resident of Stoneridge
on Jul 23, 2012 at 8:43 am

I totally agree that the unions are killing this country.
They're no different than the mafia. Wetting their beaks
in everything they can. I'm sorry for the tragic thing that
happened. Seems like kids aren't polite and respectful
like we used to be. I can imagine that Mom was at her
wits end and didn't know what else to do, but End the pain?
People are getting desperate in this world.

Posted by Trevor Tooze, a resident of Livermore
on Jul 23, 2012 at 8:47 am

Arnold, if that is all you have to say. I would shut up.

Posted by AnnaS, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jul 23, 2012 at 8:59 am

People, what happened with our community? Somebody near you lost his wife and the daughter and we talk politics? Can we have at least little bit respect for the dead and for the ones who have to live through this tragedy?

Posted by Klisvak, a resident of Castlewood Heights
on Jul 23, 2012 at 9:05 am

Arnold is right folks. May be the timing for this discussion is not appropriate. But it is the content of his note that makes you so angry. Anyway, mother nature has ways of wrighting things up. And it is coming. This isn't a doomsday prophecy. It is a reality. It's called the life on planet Earth.

Posted by pleasantonmom, a resident of Ironwood
on Jul 23, 2012 at 9:10 am

What happen to, If you don't have something nice to say then say nothing at all. Make your mom proud.

Posted by Daniel Bradford, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jul 23, 2012 at 1:12 pm

The murder-suicide of a mother and her daughter and all some people can do is use this tragedy as a soapbox for their unhinged anti-union/anti-government rants?

Thank goodness you represent a fringe element in Pleasanton. The vast majority of Pleasantonians have far more class than to post something so insensitive and hurtful.

I wonder if people would post such nonsensical screeds if the Pleasanton Weekly required a verification real name as a condition of posting comments here? It'd be a worthy experiment.

Posted by Vanessa, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jul 23, 2012 at 1:26 pm

It's really sad that the replies to this article are filled with political talk. I am all for fiscal conservativeness and can't stand the unions, but that has nothing to do with the fact that a child was killed by her mother. I can't even imagine what that young girl was going through when her mother pointed a gun at her and pulled the trigger. I for one am glad the police took their time to make sure this was a murder-suicide rather than mistakenly arrest an innocent person for a crime they didn't commit. Get a grip, people.

Posted by Lugnut, a resident of Carriage Gardens
on Jul 24, 2012 at 10:15 pm

Arnold, get facts before you soil your pants again. You know nothing.

Posted by Don't feed the trolls, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2012 at 2:17 pm

I pray for the husband, family members, and friends of the mother and daughter. What a horrible closure to a horrible event. May God grant them comfort and peace.

Posted by Arnold, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Okay, I realize I hit a nerve when I called upon former public employee Staceleen to return her bloated pension. But my general point stands. These cops are engaging in redundant and time-dragging activities that coerce the public into forking over their hard-earned money to the state. We're in tsunami hades, for gosh sakes! Why won't anyone talk about paying minimum wage to a reduced Pleasanton police force? Doesn't anyone know anything about police science? Modern technology now does most of everything (e.g., traffic cams). What do we need cops for when cameras do the job? See? Go to for more info.

Posted by wow, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Arnold - get over yourself and please be quiet.
This is a horrendous accusation to make. The police needed to perform the tests to make sure they were 100% certain before concluding this. I could guess the family is in shock/denial, as they should be. There are many reasons their conclusions need to be correct (public safety, family sensitivity, life insurance, etc.)
Just because it took several weeks for the conclusion to be made public does NOT mean that they were working 24/7 on this wasting billions of dollars. What it means ( from what I read in other news stories) is that there is a backlog of work in the lab. This is due to other high profile c and other cases in the area, as well as staffing/resource issues.

Too bad you only see things one ways... through your filter about the Tsunami coming. Dear Lord, please protect us from nut jobs like Arnold.

Posted by Daniel Bradford, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jul 26, 2012 at 12:20 am

"Why won't anyone talk about paying minimum wage to a reduced Pleasanton police force?"

Because they're not insane?

Posted by Arnold, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2012 at 7:33 am

No one, including myself, is calling the Pleasanton police force insane. In fact, its probably pretty sane and rational to take a public employee job, learn that the state only requires 2 hours per day of work from you, and that you can drag out investigations, overcharge overtime, ignore redundancies, get 'injured' and claim HUGE benefits from it, all over and above the extraordinarily generous salary they rake in for doing mostly nothing in a mostly nothing job.

It's the public, staring up at a tsunami crashing down upon it, and not even grabbing an oar that's insane.

Posted by None of the Above, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2012 at 11:02 am

This is a thread about the death of a Pleasanton mother and daughter. Please respect that and start a different thread if you'd like to discuss something other than that.

Posted by Daniel Bradford, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jul 26, 2012 at 1:15 pm

Somebody needs a timeout. Hijacking a forum about the tragic death of a mother and her young daughter for your unhinged political rant is the quintessence of "bad taste".

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jul 26, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

I don't agree with Daniel Bradford often, but since a lot of the posts on this thread have turned to calling out the bad taste of Fake-Arnold, I will throw in my two cents. Fake-Arnold, you sure prove time and again that you are a disrespectful misanthrope. You may think you're on some sort of propaganda crusade against opinions and inconvenient facts that you don't like, but even your left-wing minded buddy Bradford is telling you to grow up. Maybe you should finally get a clue.

Posted by Arnold, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 27, 2012 at 7:09 am

I'll not be intimidated by fake-Stacey or anyone else who pretends to not recognize that unchecked public fraudulence is innundating us in tsunamic proportion. I am sorry about the deaths. But sometimes, unfortunately, death is the outcome of living in a free society. Unfortunately, living in this society, today, is enough to send anyone over the edge. Read about Stockton going bankrupt. It would not surprise me if many people throughout the country have committed suicide because of this. For the bankruptcy is clear evidence that a giant flood of debt is going to kill us all, maybe not you and me, but our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren and beyond. Let's stop with the fake-this and fake-that which keeps Stacey up at night. The BIG ISSUES people are what all patriotic Americans must stand up and face.

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