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Affidavit reveals history before 84-year-old’s killing in Stratmoor Hills

R Earley
El Paso County Sheriff's Office

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo (KRDO) -- An arrest affidavit reveals the suspect who killed an 84-year-old woman in Stratmoor Hills had a history of drinking and harassing members of the household.

The suspect 58-year-old Rhaiyanna Earley had moved into the house on the 1600 block of Maxwell Street about two months before the shooting, according to arrest documents. John Elrod, who also lived at the residence, told deputies that he was in an on-again, off-again relationship with the suspect.

Deputies identified the victim as an at-risk woman named Christine Rush who also lived at the same residence. Earley would often get into arguments and physical fights with Rush, and Elrod told deputies he often had to break up the fights.

In the weeks leading up to the shooting, Earley had been stealing personal items from members inside the household to harass them, according to the arrest affidavit. Elrod was trying to get Earley to move out and even offered some financial assistance, deputies said.

On September 12, witnesses inside the household said there were no tense discussions prior to the shooting. Investigators say Earley was unprovoked when she shot Rush and then proceeded to fire several more rounds at Elrod while chasing him outside the home.

When authorities arrived at the household, they found Earley inside with her empty hands held up. Her hands and forearms were covered in blood, and her clothes had large bloodstains, according to the arrest affidavit.

Deputies say they found Rush deceased in a bathtub with her clothes on. The shower rod and shower head had been pulled down. Although the coroner has not revealed the exact cause of death, deputies say the evidence suggests she was shot.

Although Earley fired several times at Elrod, he was not injured during the incident.

Detectives say they tried to interview the suspect but she refused to answer questions and invoked her right to counsel.

Earley was taken into custody immediately and booked into the El Paso County Jail on charges of murder in the first degree and attempted murder in the second degree.

Crime / El Paso County Crime / Local News

Zachary Aedo

Zach is a reporter for KRDO and Telemundo Surco. Learn more about Zach here.



  1. Sounds like the suspect was completely irrational at the time of the shooting. I’m betting she was under the influence of some kind of drugs, most likely alcohol or meth…

  2. Come on Zach, it is not that hard. West of I-25 along B Street is Stratmoor Hills, East of I-25 along 85/87 is Stratmoor Valley. You supposedly cover the area, try learning it.

    Stratmoor Valley keeps it classy though. At at-risk 84 year-old living with how many other adults that are not related?

  3. Wait and see the charges will get dropped. This lady is crazy and everyone around her has known it for a while. My Father in law is neighbors in this area and shes a wack job. Her ex husband Will has gotten her off plenty of times being with the Special Forces on Fort Carson. She also had two boys which I hope are of age now and not living with her anymore.

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