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85-year-old woman cleared after killing home intruder

An Idaho prosecuting attorney's office said it determined Christine Jenneiahn was acting within the law when she shot and killed Derek Condon.
Killing of home invader by woman, 85, ruled justifiable homicide
Posted at 2:43 PM, Apr 11, 2024

Authorities in Idaho say the killing of a suspected home invader by an 85-year-old woman, who says she was woken up by the intruder, has been deemed justifiable homicide by a state prosecuting attorney. 

The office for Idaho Prosecutor Ryan Jolley said in a statement that video, photographs, information collected from search warrants and witness statements led his office to determine that Christine Jenneiahn was justified and acted within the law when she shot and killed 39-year-old Derek Condon. 

Jenneiahn told police Condon made entry into her home in eastern Idaho's Bingham County as she slept. She said he woke her up shining a flashlight and pointing a gun at her while wearing a "military jacket" at around 2 a.m. on the morning of March 13, the state's prosecuting office said. 

Authorities said the only other person in Jenneiahn's home lawfully at that time was her disabled son David. 

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Jolley's office said Condon placed Jenneiahn in handcuffs and led her into the living room, where he handcuffed her to a wooden chair. Detectives noticed what appeared to be blood on her pillow and the floor in her room, and Jenneiahn said Condon had struck her in the head while she was awake, but couldn't immediately recall exactly when, authorities said in a report. 

When Condon asked Jenneiahn where in the home she kept her valuables, she said she didn't have much, and he held a gun to her head, she told police. She eventually told him she had two safes in a lower part of the home. 

According to prosecutors, Condon began rummaging through Jenneiahn's home while she was in handcuffs and discovered that her son David was in the home. At some point while Condon was looking for valuables, Jenneiahn was able to drag herself and the chair she was handcuffed to into her room to retrieve her revolver from under her pillow, authorities said. 

She then went back into the living room and hid the firearm between an armrest and a cushion and waited for Condon, prosecutors said. She told detectives that during all of this time Condon threatened to kill her multiple times. When Condon reentered the room with Jenneiahn, that is when she says she fired multiple shots striking him at least twice with gunfire as Condon returned fire.

Jenneiahn was struck multiple times in various areas of her body by Condon's return gunfire, prosecutors said. 

Police said Jenneiahn remained on the floor wounded and in handcuffs for around 10 hours before she was able to call 911 when her son came upstairs and gave her a phone. Police said they later discovered a broken window at the back of Jenneiahn's home with tools at the scene that indicated how Condon likely made entry into the residence. 

Investigators found a lock-picking set, a car key, a handcuff key and a bag with items stolen from the home on Condon. 

Authorities praised Jenneiahn for her "heroism, fortitude" and "will to live." They plan to honor her in the future.

"We wish her well in her recovery and look forward to finding a way to honor her at a later date," the Bingham County Sheriff's Office wrote in a Facebook post.

Scripps News has reached out to the sheriff's office for more information on the extent of her injuries and is waiting to hear back.

Bingham County includes the town of Blackfoot, where Condon is from. The town of 37,000 has a radius of just 15 miles. The area had just four robberies in 2021 and 2022, and 39 instances of stolen property in those same years, according to state records. From that same time period, there is just one homicide on record.

Idaho's legal code states that "no person" in the state "shall be placed in legal jeopardy of any kind whatsoever for protecting" themselves, prosecutors noted in their report. 

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