Woman, 85, Kills Intruder in Shootout While Cuffed to Chair

'Her grit, determination, and will to live appear to be what saved her that night'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2024 12:05 PM CDT
Idaho Woman, 85, Won't Be Charged After Killing Intruder
Derek Ephriam Condon, 39.   (Bingham County Sheriff's Office)

It was a textbook case of justifiable homicide and "one of the most heroic acts of self-preservation I have ever heard of," a county prosecutor in Idaho wrote Tuesday, describing how an 85-year-old woman managed to kill her attacker despite being handcuffed and shot herself during a home invasion. Christine Jenneiahn told prosecutors she awoke around 2am on March 13 to find a man in a ski mask holding her at gunpoint in the Blackfoot home she shares with a son, who is disabled, per NBC News. Authorities believe the intruder, identified as Derek Condon, struck Jenneiahn in the head while she lay in bed, according to a case review shared by the Bingham County Sheriff's Office.

Condon then handcuffed Jenneiahn to a chair in the living room and started asking about her valuables, wrote Bingham County Prosecutor Ryan Jolley. He said Condon grew increasingly frustrated with his victim for not fessing up and for failing to inform him that her son was home, making threats against her life and at one point putting his gun to her head. When Condon left Jenneiahn to search the basement of the home, the 85-year-old dragged herself and the chair into her bedroom, grabbed a revolver from under her pillow, then returned to the living room, concealing the gun while she "waited to see what Condon did next," Jolley wrote.

When Condon threatened her again, she pulled out the weapon and "engaged Condon striking him with both her shots," according to the review. Condon returned fire with a 9mm pistol, striking Jenneiahn in the chest, abdomen, arm, and leg, before retreating to her kitchen, where he died, Jolley said. Jenneiahn, who'd fallen over, allegedly remained handcuffed on the floor for 10 hours before her son discovered her. She was taken to a hospital but is now recovering at home, per NBC. "Her grit, determination, and will to live appear to be what saved her that night," Jolley wrote. He added the case presents "an easy analysis of self-defense and justifiable homicide" based on Idaho's self-defense law.

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"Absent a clear attempt by Condon to retreat from the residence or surrender, which based on the evidence clearly did not occur, Christine was justified in taking any and all means necessary to defend herself and her son that night," Jolley wrote. He noted Condon was found with stolen items, a handcuff key, and a lock pick set on his person, per Fox News. His vehicle was also found nearby, along with footprints leading to Jenneiahn's home. Officials say Condon and Jenneiahn knew each other and this was not a random incident, per East Idaho News. (More Idaho stories.)

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