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Woman, 85, shoots dead masked intruder while handcuffed to a chair in ‘heroic act of self-preservation’

In Europe
April 11, 2024

An 85-year-old woman shot and killed a masked intruder who broke into her home and handcuffed her to a wooden chair – with a prosecutor calling it “one of the most heroic acts of self-preservation I have ever heard of”.

Christine Jenneiahn shot Derek Condon twice after dragging herself to the bedroom of her home in Bingham County, Idaho, to retrieve her firearm while still secured to the chair.

Ms Jenneiahn told prosecutors she was asleep when Condon entered the property and pointed a gun and flashlight at her at around 2am local time (9am UK time) on 13 March.

She said her disabled son was at home at the time.

Condon most likely struck Ms Jenneiahn over the head while she was in bed because she said she had been hit and investigators found blood on her pillow and bedroom floor, according to a case review shared by Bingham County Sheriff’s Office on 9 April.

The intruder, who was wearing a black ski mask and military jacket, then handcuffed her to a wooden chair and asked where she kept her valuables.

Condon pointed a gun at her head when she told him she didn’t have much to give him, the review continues.

Death threats

Ms Jenneiahn told Condon she had two safes downstairs before he left her handcuffed to the chair while he searched several rooms for valuables.

“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 is then said to have made numerous threats to kill Ms Jenneiahn.

However, while he was searching the downstairs of the property, the elderly woman was able to drag herself to her bedroom while still handcuffed to the chair.

She retrieved her .357 Magnum from under her pillow before heading back to the living room and hiding it between the armrest and a cushion.

‘Now or never’

Ms Jenneiahn then “waited to see what Condon did next”.

She told prosecutors that when the intruder 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 Ms Jenneiahn multiple times in her abdomen, a leg, an arm and her chest with a 9mm pistol, according to the review.

He then went to the kitchen where he died from his gunshot wounds.

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Ms 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.

Justifiable homicide

Police officers arrived at the property at around 12.17pm local time (7:17pm UK time), the review says.

Ms Jenneiahn was taken to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls and has since been released, EastIdahoNews.com reports.

Bingham County Prosecutor Ryan Jolley said in the case review that Ms Jenneiahn acted in self-defence and ruled it was a case of justifiable homicide.

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

Mr Jolley continued: “This case presents an easy analysis of self-defence and justifiable homicide.

“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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