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29-year-old charged in Manitou woman's death

July 11, 2013 Updated: July 11, 2013 at 5:15 pm
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A murder suspect's alibi suffered a blow after authorities say he was caught on tape using his slain landlady's stolen credit card.

Credit card receipts, video surveillance and bloody clothing stashed in the woman's Volvo sedan are among the evidence that tie 29-year-old Christopher A. Miller to the death of Jacqueline Knudson, El Paso County sheriff's investigators said in court documents.

Miller, who rented a room at Knudson's Manitou Springs home, was charged at a court appearance Thursday with first-degree murder, identity theft and motor vehicle theft. He is scheduled to return to court July 16 and is being held without bond at El Paso County jail.

Authorities say Knudson, 56, was found dead July 2 in her living room, 55 Waltham Ave., after Miller called 911 and reported finding her body.

An autopsy later determined that Knudson died of blunt-force head trauma, in a homicide.

According to sheriff's investigators, Miller provided an account of his whereabouts on the previous evening but left out important details: They allege that he used Knudson's credit card to make purchases at a liquor store, a bar and two businesses at The Citadel mall - with video surveillance catching him in the act during at least one of the stops.

He allegedly drove Knudson's Volvo during the three-hour shopping spree, and during a search of the vehicle - which was found parked in Knudson's driveway - detectives allegedly found the credit card receipts and Miller's bloody clothing, the arrest affidavit said.

Neighbors said they saw Miller pull up to the home in the Volvo shortly before he reported Knudson's death, the affidavit says.

Inside Knudson's home was a copy of a lease in which Miller agreed to pay Knudson $100 a month in rent - and to leave immediately should he fall behind by $200.

The document was signed by Miller on July 1, the same day he made the credit card purchases and a day before he called to report her death, authorities say.

According to sheriff's authorities, Miller claimed he had been staying with Knudson rent-free in exchange for taking care of her.

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