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85-year-old Idaho woman hailed as ‘hero’ in fatal shooting of home invasion suspect

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(BLACKFOOT, Idaho) — An 85-year-old Idaho woman is being hailed as a “hero” for gunning down a home-invasion suspect with a handgun she kept under her pillow after he allegedly handcuffed her to a chair, pistol whipped her and threatened numerous time to kill her, authorities said.


Christine Jenneiahn survived the harrowing incident at her home near Blackfoot, Idaho, after being shot multiple times by alleged assailant 39-year-old Derek Condon, who died in her kitchen when the octogenarian turned the tables on him and shot him twice with her .357 Magnum, authorities said.

She told investigators she decided to use deadly force to protect her and her disabled son, saying it was “now or never” as she feared the suspect was otherwise going to kill her.

“This case presents an easy analysis of self-defense and justifiable homicide,” Bingham County, Idaho, Prosecuting Attorney Ryan Jolley said in a statement released this week, clearing Jenneiahn of any wrongdoing. “It also presents one of the most heroic acts of self-preservation I have heard of.”

Jenneiahn, who lives in a rural area with a disabled son, told police she was awakened around 2 a.m. on March 13 by a stranger wearing a military jacket and a black ski mask and standing over her bed pointing a gun and a flashlight at her, according to investigators.

Investigators suspect Condon entered the home by breaking a window and hit Jenneiahn in the head with a pistol while she was in her bed, according to Jolley.

Jenneiahn told investigators Condon allegedly took her into her living room, handcuffed her to a wooden chair and “asked her where the valuables were kept in her home, and placed a pistol against her head,” according to an incident report.

The woman told Condon there were two safes downstairs but that she didn’t have much, according to the report.

When the assailant went downstairs, leaving her alone in the living room, Jenneiahn told investigators she dragged the chair she was handcuffed to back to her bedroom to retrieve the gun she kept under her pillow. She told investigators she went back into the living room and hid the revolver between the armrest and cushion of a couch she was seated next to and waited to see what Condon did next, according to the report.

When Condon returned, he allegedly became angry with Jenneiahn for not telling him her son was in the house and again allegedly threatened to kill her, according to the report. That’s when she lunged for her gun hidden in the couch and opened fire on Condon, hitting him twice.

Condon allegedly returned fire, emptying his 9mm pistol, leaving Jenneiahn with gunshot wounds to her abdomen, leg, arm and chest, according to the report.

Condon apparently collapsed in the kitchen and died while Jenneiahn remained on the floor of her living room bleeding and handcuffed to the chair for 10 hours until her son came upstairs and handed her the phone to call 911, according to the report.

Citing Idaho’s “stand your ground law,” Jolley said Jenneiahn was justified in using any means necessary to defend herself.

“Any reasonable person would believe it necessary to defend themselves or their disabled child under such circumstances,” Jolley said in his decision released Tuesday. “That Christine survived this encounter is truly incredible. Her grit, determination, and will to live appear to be what shaved her that night.”

He said that if Condon had survived the incident, he would have been charged with felony attempted murder, kidnapping, burglary, aggravated battery and grand theft.

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