SALINA — A 19-year-old man wanted in connection with the killing of his best friend and his friend's mother was arrested recently near Salina.
Elijah Colon was arrested by the Utah Highway Patrol on I-70 on May 13, hours after the bodies of Barbara Pepper, 53, and her son, Christopher Pepper, 20, were found in their Colorado Springs home, each with a gunshot wound to the head.
Christopher Pepper was Colon's "longtime best friend who had been staying with Christopher for about a week," according to a search warrant affidavit unsealed this weekend in 6th District Court.
Christopher Pepper's girlfriend told police that Colon had recently been kicked out of the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colorado, "because of too much partying," the warrant states.
"Elijah seemed to be stressed about having been kicked out of college. He was also complaining about having to start two new jobs on Saturday," the girlfriend told investigators.
About midnight, the girlfriend said Pepper went into the kitchen. That's when she heard "a loud crash … followed by a loud pop, which she described as a gunshot. She then heard Pepper curse before another gunshot sounded.
The girlfriend went into the hallway where Colon walked toward her and told her "that she didn’t want to go down there (the hallway) and that he was sorry. He repeated this several times, and physically prevented her from walking down the hall toward the kitchen. He then pushed her back into the bedroom, and she went into the closet, closing the door," the affidavit states. "Elijah stated to her over and over that he was sorry and that he didn’t mean for this to happen. He also told her that he wasn’t going to hurt her."
Colon then took the keys to Barbara Pepper's car and left, police say. Later that day, officers learned that Colon had been in touch with a former coach and his mother who told investigators, "Elijah commented that he was in the desert, but refused to provide additional information," the warrant states.
After pinging Colon's cellphone, investigators found Colon near Salina and arrested him. Detectives did not find a gun in the car but did find "an expended projectile and .38 caliber ammunition was found," the warrant states.