Kenai man charged in double homicide

Rachelle Armstrong, 60, and Lisa Rutzebeck, 39, were killed early Sunday morning.

A Kenai man has been arrested for murder after allegedly shooting and killing two people, according to a police affidavit filed at the Kenai Courthouse on Tuesday.

Masonn Byrd, 25, was arrested Tuesday night as part of an investigation into the killing of Rachelle Armstrong, 60, and Lisa Rutzebeck, 39. Kenai police responded to reports of a shooting at an apartment on California Avenue in Kenai early Sunday morning and found the two women deceased in the living room. According to the affidavit, a witness told police that they saw a man in the apartment and heard two gunshots.

While reviewing Armstrong’s cellphone, police allegedly found multiple conversations about dealing drugs, including one conversation between Armstrong and Byrd suggesting that Armstrong owed Byrd money for a drug debt. According to the affidavit, the text conversation between Byrd and Armstrong ended approximately 20 minutes before the shooting took place.

On July 22, Byrd’s cellphone records were sent to the Department of Public Safety for analysis. Police reported that initial results showed that Byrd’s phone was within range of the cellphone tower sector that covers California Avenue at 3:05 a.m. on July 21, three minutes before the time that the killings were reported.

Byrd was interviewed Tuesday by police, who reported Byrd denied involvement in the killings. Another witness was interviewed and told police that Byrd had admitted to shooting the two women the morning after and that Byrd planned to throw the gun in the river, the affidavit said.

Byrd is charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

According to documents obtained at the Kenai courthouse, Byrd was charged with attempted murder, trespassing and felony assault with a weapon in February of 2016. Byrd was ultimately convicted of third-degree assault with a weapon, firing a gun at a dwelling and providing false information to law enforcement after a guilty plea. Byrd was sentenced to a total of seven years in prison with three years suspended followed by five years of probation.

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