ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) -- The shocking murder of a Twin Cities mother of three is sending a strong message about domestic violence.
Police say Patrick Simmons stabbed 44-year-old Kelli Ranning Goodermont on Tuesday morning, then set her on fire inside the St. Paul warehouse where they worked.
Traci Kennedy says she has been at Goodermont's side since the first grade.
"You can't deny a bond when you are connected," Kennedy said.
She shared several pictures showing their friend group from high school, one that has kept in touch into adulthood.
"We're just a tight group. [Goodermont] never let the love go. She was just, she was such a light," Kennedy said.
That friend circle has been texting each other non-stop, consoling one another through the immense pain over her killing -- and frustration over who is accused of doing it.
"Unfortunately, it wasn't super shocking it was [Patrick Simmons] who did this and took it to this degree," she said.
Goodermont was working at a St. Paul warehouse Tuesday when investigators say Simmons, her on-and-off boyfriend for about a decade, brutally killed her. He was arrested quickly after police say he set his house on fire in Bloomington.
"Our common theme is just how do we prevent this from happening again. How do we keep her daughters from falling into the same cycle," she said.
Kennedy and the rest of Goodermont's friends now want to bring attention to the tragic outcomes of domestic violence, while honoring a young mother gone too soon.
"I want her memory to bring smiles and laughter like it used to always, you know, before it got too dark. She was the girl who could walk into a room and light it up with either her snarky comments, her bright smile," Kennedy said. "I love her so much and I just, we just want, we want justice for her family. That's the bottom line."
Goodermont's friends set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money for her three children.
Simmons is charged with second-degree intentional murder. Court records show he had been physically abusive with Goodermont in the past.
Simmons told investigators he had been planning to kill her for weeks. He made his first appearance in court Thursday, where his bail was set for $2 million.
Domestic Violence Resources: For anonymous, confidential help, people can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224.
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