Christopher (Christian) Colbert has confessed to the murder of Ronald Shumway, but when he spoke to Dallas detectives in a Los Angeles County jail recently, Colbert claimed he killed his landlord in self-defense, according to the arrest warrant issued in connection with Shumway’s murder.
After Det. E. Montenegro read Colbert his Miranda rights, the arrest warrant indicates, Colbert waived his rights and told detectives his version of what events leading to Shumway’s death.
“According to Suspect Colbert, one day Complainant Shumway began drinking which led to an argument,” the warrant says. “He claimed that Complainant Shumway came at him and tried to strangle him.”
Colbert told Montenegro he thought Shumway might tie him up and kill him, claiming that Shumway struck Colbert’s head against the wall and saying he couldn’t breathe when Shumway attacked him. Colbert said that in an effort to defend himself, he ended up choking Shumway with his hands.
When detectives asked why he didn’t report the death, Colbert said he was in shock.
Although Colbert initially denied any involvement in Shumway’s murder, he finally confessed after Montenegro told him evidence in the fraudulent sale of the house implicated him in the killing.
When detectives asked how Shumway ended up encased in concrete in his backyard, Colbert said that was his idea and no one else helped. He said he bought the cement at Home Depot on Fort Worth Avenue.
When Montenegro asked Colbert if he had tied up Shumway, Colbert said he didn’t remember but he might have. He claimed he blacked out from fear and shock. Colbert’s version of events differed from what evidence indicated happened, according to the warrant.
For example, when the detective asked what he used to wrap Shumway’s body, Colbert said he used a blanket. But when Montenegro corrected him and said the body was wrapped in a plastic bag, Colbert changed his story and acknowledged he used a black plastic bag. And according to the warrant, evidence found during the autopsy didn’t match Colbert’s explanation of the fight. Shumway’s hands and feet were bound with neckties and there were several ligature marks around his neck.
The warrant also details how Colbert managed to turn the check written to Shumway into cash. After the sale of the house, Colbert deposited about $109,000 into Shumway’s Bank of America account, then withdrew all of the money using Shumway’s debit card.
The warrant confirms that two witnesses picked Colbert out of a photo lineup as the person who presented himself as Shumway for the sale of the house.