Prosecutor says Idaho woman, 85, committed ‘one of the most heroic acts of self-preservation’ by killing intruder

A harrowing experience for an elderly Idaho mother was ruled a “heroic” act after she shot and killed an intruder in her home.

The 85-year-old Idaho woman named Christine Jenneiahn experienced the unthinkable when her home was broken into by a suspect, identified as 39-year-old Derek Condon who handcuffed and threatened her with a gun.

But Jenneiahn, who lives in the home with her disabled son, took a “now or never” chance and committed a “justifiable homicide,” according to Bingham County Prosecutor Ryan Jolley.

The March incident was “one of the most heroic acts of self-preservation,” the county prosecutor wrote in a review posted to Facebook by the Bingham County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff’s office noted that though “our intention is not to defame the name of the suspect involved,” they nevertheless were “simply releasing the facts of the case, and explaining that there was a victim involved that displayed heroism, fortitude, and a will to live that we’d be remiss not to share.”


“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.”

Jenneiahn told investigators that an intruder wearing a military jacket and black ski mask awakened her that night, pointing a gun and a flashlight at her before moving her into the living room.

“Subsequent investigation indicates a strong likelihood that Condon struck Jenneiahn in the head as she lay in her bed,” the review said, noting there was blood on the pillow and floor in the bedroom.

The suspect reportedly took Jenneiahn into the living room where he handcuffed her to a chair.

Fox News reported:

After demanding to know where the valuables were kept in the home, Condon allegedly placed his pistol on the victim’s head when she told him she did not have much. Jenneiahn then told the home intruder about two safes downstairs, and the prosecutor says he left her handcuffed in the living room while he went to rummage through the home.

Condon reportedly became angry when he found out Jenneiahn’s son was in the home, and she did not tell him. The suspect is said to have made numerous threats to kill Jenneiahn.


“At one point while Condon was downstairs, Christine drug the chair she was handcuffed to into her bedroom, and retrieved her 357 magnum revolver from under her pillow,” Jolley wrote in the review. “She then went back into the living room and hid the revolver between the arm rest and cushion of a couch next to where she was seated and waited to see what Condon did next.”

The prosecutor noted that Jenneiahn’s memory “remains somewhat unclear” at this point but she decided it was “now or never,” as she pulled her gun.

“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 stated.

“Condon returned fire emptied a 9mm pistol into Christine striking her multiple times in her abdomen, leg, arm and chest,” the document went on. “Condon then went into the adjoining kitchen where he died from his wounds.”

Jenneiahn was still handcuffed and fell to the floor where she remained for about 10 hours before her son found her. He gave her a phone to call 911 and, according to the review, deputies arrived at approximately 12:17 p.m.

“Condon had on his person a lock pick set, his car key, a handcuff key, and a bag containing items he had stolen from the residence,” Jolley said in the review. His car was also found and footprints indicated where he had walked from the car to the home. A broken window near the back of the home and a screwdriver near the door were also discovered by investigators.

Idaho’s self-defense law states, “No person in this state shall be placed in legal jeopardy of any kind whatsoever for protecting himself.” Thus, Jolley ruled the shooting by the homeowner was justified.

“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,” he wrote.

“Had Derek Condon survived, I would be charging him with multiple felonies, including attempted murder, kidnapping, burglary, aggravated battery and grand theft,” Jolley added.


Frieda Powers


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