Kenai double-murder suspect allegedly killed mother and daughter over drug debt
A Kenai man accused of murdering a mother and daughter over an unpaid drug debt told his grandfather he shot the women and didn't think he'd get caught, according to court documents.
Kenai police arrested 25-year-old Masonn Byrd for the Sunday morning shooting deaths of 39-year-old Lisa Rutzebeck and her mother 60-year-old Rachelle Armstrong.
A probable cause affidavit reveals texts on Armstrong's phone led police to Byrd.
"During a review of RACHELLE (SHELLY) ARMSTRONG's cellphone, multiple conversations related to dealing drugs were located. Additionally, the records indicated that SHELLY owed MASONN BYRD money for a drug debt. Their text conversations continued throughout the day and finished approximately 20 minutes before the murders.
In one of the texts on the day of the murder at 4:29pm, MASONN wrote, "I just done with dealing with people Ima end up hurting someone lol" SHELLY replied that she understood and is trying to get others to pay her the money they owe to her."
According to the document, the witness who called 911 about the shooting reported seeing a black man in the apartment and hearing two gunshots. The witness also reported the man had a gun.
Neighbors said they had seen Byrd in the stairwell of the building during the two weeks leading up to the shooting.
Byrd's phone pinged a cell tower in the neighborhood three minutes before the murders were reported.
"MASONN BYRD was interviewed and denied involvement. DWIGHT DAVIS, MASONN'S grandfather, was also interviewed. DWIGHT stated that MASONN had told him, the morning after the shooting, that he shot the two women and that he was going to throw the gun into the river. MASONN also told DWIGHT that the shooting occurred over money and that he thought he would get away with it because there were no witnesses."
Inside the apartment on California Avenue, police officers found the two women with gunshot wounds to the head and bullet casings for a .380-caliber automatic on the floor and recliner. The document does not state whether investigators recovered the gun.
Byrd faces two charges of first-degree murder.
Kenai police say the investigation is ongoing.
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