Family Grace McDonald lived with speaks out

The woman who opened up her home to 23-year-old Grace McDonald while she was out on bond for about two months said Friday she wanted to set the record straight.

McDonald, who has been charged with capital murder of multiple persons, criminal conspiracy and prohibited sexual contact, was arrested again Wednesday. McDonald and her adoptive sibling, Gabe McDonald, are accused of fatally shooting their parents, Gregg and Jana McDonald in the early morning hours of March 2, 2016 in their Conley Avenue home.

Judge James Rush signed an order Wednesday to issue a warrant for McDonald for violating bond conditions, court records show. One of her bond conditions was that she could only reside with Amanda and Christopher Richardson.

During a heated phone conversation Friday morning, Amanda Richardson made a comment indicating a court order was never signed to allow McDonald to change residency though.

“The court order that never got signed by the judge — that’s on the attorneys, not me,” Richardson said. Richardson did not elaborate on the statement.

“I’m not gonna comment at this time,” defense attorney Steven Brand said during a phone call Friday afternoon. Asked if the arrest warrant was due to an unsigned court order, Brand said, “We didn’t have the hearing (Thursday) so — I don’t want to speculate.”

A bond report filed Tuesday by Jimmy Ruiz, director at Ector County Post Sentence/Pretrial Monitoring program, stated he was notified of a motion filed April 5 to change McDonald’s residence and Amanda Richardson did not want McDonald back in her residence due to “personality conflicts.”

The report stated that McDonald’s defense attorney Thomas Fagerberg advised that while the motion had been filed, McDonald needed to be out “as soon as possible” and Richardson did not want McDonald back in her residence again.

The bond report stated the move was later approved by Rush and Fagerberg advised Ruiz that Amanda Richardson did not want McDonald returning to her home, “even for the purpose of getting her belongings.”

Amanda Richardson, a longstanding friend of McDonald’s, said the information reported about not letting McDonald back into her home was not true.

“Yes, the relationship had some issues with it,” she said, adding that McDonald was an adult and “wanted to do adult things” and the Richardson’s had small children in the home.

“We just cannot live in the same home … sometimes your family comes first,” Richardson said.

McDonald was lined up to go live with Rebecca and Darren Browder, whom she had forged a close relationship with while being supervised, and it would be “more manageable for all involved” if she resided with them instead of the Richardson’s, a motion to modify special conditions of bond stated.

Rebecca Browder was identified by Fagerberg as the investigator hired by the firm to assist in McDonald’s case, records show.

“Rebecca Browder is nothing more than an investigator that opened her doors to her home to let Grace stay there until the trial,” Richardson said.

She added she will “always remain in Grace’s corner” and McDonald will “always be loved by me and my family.”

Richardson also made comments that “the media tries to shred” McDonald, but “the truth is Grace did not do anything that Grace is accused of,” she said.

Richardson later hung up before any further questions could be asked.

A pretrial hearing for Grace McDonald is set for 11 a.m. April 23 and a jury trial has been scheduled for June 25. Gabe McDonald, who is only facing one felony count of capital murder of multiple persons has a pre-trial scheduled for 2 p.m. May 8 with Rush and a trial date of June 11.

Gabe McDonald is accused of pulling the trigger during the fatal shooting. He is being represented by local attorney Justin Low.