Idaho woman, 85, fatally shot home intruder in ‘heroic’ act of self-defense

An 85-year-old Idaho woman shot and killed an intruder in her home in what a county prosecutor called “one of the most heroic acts of self-preservation I have ever heard of.”

Bingham County Prosecutor Ryan Jolley said in a case review that the woman, identified Wednesday as Christine Jenneiahn, acted in self-defense and ruled it was a case of justifiable homicide.

“That Christine survived this encounter is truly incredible,” Jolley wrote. “Her grit, determination, and will to live appear to be what saved her that night.”

According to the review, posted on Facebook by the Bingham County Sheriff’s Office, an intruder, identified as Derek Condon, broke into Jenneiahn’s home at around 2 a.m. on March 13.

Jenneiahn told prosecutors she was asleep in her Bingham County home when she was awakened by an intruder who was wearing a military jacket and black ski mask and was pointing a gun and a flashlight at her.

She said her disabled son was also home.

The review says Condon most likely hit Jenneiahn in her head while she was in bed, because Jenneiahn said she’d been hit and because investigators found blood on her pillow and on her bedroom floor.

Condon then handcuffed Jenneiahn and took her to the living room at gunpoint, according to the review. There, he handcuffed her to a wooden chair and asked about her valuables. When she said she didn’t have much, he put his gun to her head, the review said.

According to the review, Jenneiahn told Condon she had two safes downstairs. He left her handcuffed in the living room as he looked through several rooms of her home in search of her valuables, prosecutors said.

“At some point,” the review says, “he discovered that Christine’s son was also in the home and became angry at Christine for not telling him.”

Condon started to make numerous threats that he wanted to kill Jenneiahn, according to the review.

While Condon was searching downstairs, she dragged the wooden chair to which she was handcuffed into her bedroom and grabbed her .357 Magnum revolver from under her pillow, the review says. Back in the living room, Jenneiahn hid the gun between the armrest and a cushion as she “waited to see what Condon did next.”

“Christine’s memory of exactly what occurred next remains somewhat unclear,” according to the review.

Jenneiahn told prosecutors that at some point, when Condon returned to the living room after having rummaged through her home, he again threatened to kill her.

“She ultimately made the decision that it was ‘now or never’ and drew her concealed 357 magnum and engaged Condon striking him with both her shots,” the review says.

Condon returned fire, striking Jenneiahn multiple times in her abdomen, a leg, an arm and her chest with a 9 mm pistol, according to the review. Condon went to the kitchen, where he died from the gunshot wounds.

Jenneiahn, still handcuffed, fell over and remained on the floor for about 10 hours until her son came upstairs in the late morning and gave her a phone to call 911. Deputies responded at about 12:17 p.m., the review says.

EastIdahoNews.com reported that Jenneiahn was taken to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls. She has been released and is recovering, it reported.

Subsequent investigation turned up a broken window in the back of the residence and a screwdriver near where Condon broke in, according to the review. On his body, Condon had a lock pick set, his car key, a handcuff key and a bag filled with items stolen from the home.

Condon’s car was also found near the home, according to the review, and a set of footprints leading from the vehicle in the direction of the home was discovered.

Based on Idaho’s self-defense law, which states, “No person in this state shall be placed in legal jeopardy of any kind whatsoever for protecting himself,” Jolley ruled the killing justifiable.

“This case presents an easy analysis of self-defense and justifiable homicide,” Jolley wrote. “It also presents one of the most heroic acts of self-preservation I have ever heard of.”

He added: “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.”

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