Elizabeth man found guilty of murdering future mother-in-law in 2018

June Anderson copy.jpg
Posted at 7:13 AM, Jul 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-16 09:19:02-04

ELIZABETH, Colo. — On Wednesday, a jury found an Elizabeth man guilty of stabbing his fiancée’s mother to death on Halloween in 2018.

The jury deliberated for about three hours to determine that defendant Christopher Sanders Leary, now 21, was guilty of first-degree murder in the death of 56-year-old June Anderson.

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The charge stemmed from 2018, when Leary, who was 19, was living with his girlfriend and their newborn son at Anderson's home. On the evening of Oct. 31 of that year, there was an argument about a mess in the kitchen and Leary left the home to cool off, according to the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office.

“Tonight was the final straw,” Leary told an investigator late on the evening of Oct. 31. “I didn’t want her to start up again, but of course, she did. I wasn’t going to have it at all. If she says a thing, I am going to go out there and take care of this.”

He returned to the home and Anderson made a negative comment about her daughter. Leary then attacked Anderson, kicking down her bedroom door and beating her, according to the district attorney's office.

He later told investigators that he remembered thinking he had already gone too far, but if he was already headed to jail or prison, "I might as well do it for something that is worth it.”

He left the room to grab a knife from his bedroom and stabbed Anderson in the throat, according to the district attorney's office.

Leary was held on suspicion of first-degree murder and later formally charged with seven counts:

  • First-degree murder after deliberation
  • Assault with a deadly weapon
  • Assault causing serious bodily injury
  • Four sentence-enhancement charges, ranging from violent crime causing death to violent crime/weapon used

“No matter what the victim said, she did not deserve to die,” Senior Deputy District Attorney Doug Bechtel told the jury during closing arguments. “Her words did not warrant the defendant’s actions.”

Elbert County District Court Judge Gary Kramer set Leary's sentencing date for Oct. 13.

“This is a young man who made the decision to stab to death another human being, and he calmly carried out that action,” said District Attorney John Kellner. “He forever took his victim from her family, and nothing can change that. The community is safer with him behind bars, where he belongs.”