Saturday, May 14, 2011
[CA][ID] Murder of Cristi Lynne Hall retrial - DA: "This was a brutal, violent execution."
..."You'll be asked to determine whether the defendant [Blair Christopher Hall] is guilty of a homicide or is the victim of an unprecedented cosmic misfortune... There's no reasonable interpretation but that he decided to kill his wife [Cristi Lynne Hall]. You'll know it in your hearts and minds"... She also had a laceration on the top of her head and a laceration on the back of her head. She had five rib fractures, and bruises and other injuries on her back, hands, arms, elbow, torso and face, according to prosecutors. Blair Hall had several scratches on his body, and DNA under his wife's fingernails "definitively matched" Blair Hall's DNA, according to prosecutors... Blair Hall was a San Bernardino police officer for 12 years and briefly worked as a police chief in two Idaho towns, where corruption allegations led to his dismissal...
EXCERPTS FROM MAY 9 - MAY 13 NEWS:
FORMER POLICE DETECTIVE ACCUSED OF KILLING WIFE TO COLLECT INSURANCE TRIAL TO BEGIN
Monday, May 9th, 2011
Issue 19, Volume 15.
[Excerpts] Pretrial motions are scheduled to get under way today ahead of jury selection for the retrial of of a former police detective accused of killing his wife to collect on a nearly $1 million insurance policy. Blair Christopher Hall, 52, could face 25 years to life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder in the June 7, 2007, death of Cristi Lynne Hall. Blair Hall was first tried last May, but that trial ended in a hung jury... According to the District Attorney's Office, on the morning of the alleged murder, the defendant and Cristi Lynne were washing in the back patio hot tub of their Calimesa home -- a routine they had gotten into after remodeling work began on their master bathroom. While in the water, Hall allegedly slammed his 46-year-old wife's head into the concrete patio floor and then shoved her under water, drowning her, prosecutors said. Cristi Lynne had an $800,000 life insurance policy at the time. A witness in the first trial, Lindsay Kay Patterson, was visiting her mother's home in the 1200 block of Belle Road on the day of the alleged attack . Hall's and Patterson's mother's properties are separated by a 5-foot block wall. Patterson testified she heard a piercing scream from the Hall house and went over to look through a hole in the wall to see what was happening. The witness said she saw Hall holding his wife's head under water and ran to tell her mother, who called 911... Hall's attorneys argued the victim slipped and struck her head on the patio slab, then drowned. An autopsy revealed Cristi Lynne had rib fractures, chest abrasions and lacerations on the top and back of the head... He was working as a private investigator in 2007 when he was charged with his wife's death. [Full article here]
CALIMESA MURDER ALLEGED: RETRIAL OF FORMER POLICE DETECTIVE IN WIFE'S DEATH RESUMES
By Guy McCarthy
May 9, 2011
[Excerpts] The retrial of a former San Bernardino police detective accused of first-degree murder in the death of his 47-year-old wife in Calimesa resumed Monday in Riverside. Cristi Lynne Hall died of drowning in June 2007 at 1209 Belle Road in Calimesa, according to court records. She also had head lacerations and bruises on her body, a pathologist determined... Blair Hall remains free on $350,000 bail. Prosecutors contend that Blair Hall killed his wife "to reap the money paid by her life insurance policies," according to court records... At 6:38 a.m. June 7, 2007, paramedics were dispatched to 1209 Belle Road in Calimesa in Riverside County. A neighbor, Lindsay Patterson, called 9-1-1 and reported seeing Blair Hall holding a woman under the water of a small hot tub in the backyard of the home, according to prosecutors. Blair Hall's daughter also called 9-1-1 from 1209 Belle Road... A pathologist determined the cause of Cristi Hall's death was drowning. She also had a laceration on the top of her head and a laceration on the back of her head. She had five rib fractures, and bruises and other injuries on her back, hands, arms, elbow, torso and face, according to prosecutors. Blair Hall had several scratches on his body, and DNA under his wife's fingernails "definitively matched" Blair Hall's DNA, according to prosecutors. Blair Hall's attorneys contended during trial last year that Cristi Hall slipped, hit her head and drowned... Blair and Cristi Hall were married nearly 30 years. Blair Hall worked for the San Bernardino Police Department from 1982 to 1994, and he took medical retirement after being shot in one leg. He then worked briefly as police chief in two Idaho towns. In February 2000, Blair Hall was convicted in Idaho for misuse of public monies by a law enforcement officer. Prosecutors alleged he embezzled about $19,000 from a police fund and he was sentenced to seven years in prison... The sentence was suspended, probation was granted, and Blair Hall served one year in jail. He completed probation in 2005... Blair Hall was working as a private investigator in Yucaipa at the time of his wife's death... [Full article here]
PROSECUTOR: FORMER COP KILLED WIFE IN 'BRUTAL, VIOLENT' ATTACK
Friday, May 13th, 2011
Issue 19, Volume 15.
[Excerpts] A former police detective killed his wife of nearly 29 years by forcibly drowning her in what a prosecutor described today as a "brutal, violent execution," but the defendant's attorney argued the woman's death was a "tragic accident." During opening statements in the retrial of Blair Christopher Hall, Riverside County Deputy District Attorney Burke Strunsky alleged the 52-year- old ex-lawman plotted and carried out the murder of Cristi Lynne Hall in the backyard hot tub of their Calimesa home... "You'll be asked to determine whether the defendant is guilty of a homicide or is the victim of an unprecedented cosmic misfortune... There's no reasonable interpretation but that he decided to kill his wife. You'll know it in your hearts and minds... The defendant overpowers her, slams her head twice into the cement edge of the hot tub, causing two deep lacerations... She fights back, but she's no match for this 250-pound man. He pins her elbows and hands behind her and plunges her underwater. She lets out a desperate, primal scream, but the defendant continues his relentless assault." Strunsky told jurors that Hall kept the woman submerged, showing "no mercy in the quest to end her life." After making sure she was dead, the defendant sat back in the hot tub and pretended to be relaxed, Strunsky said, referring to a statement by the prosecution's key witness -- then-24-year-old Lindsay Kay Patterson. The U.S. Navy communications specialist was visiting her mother, whose house abutted the Hall property in the 1200 block of Belle Road. According to Strunsky, Patterson had heard the victim scream and went over to look through a hole in the 6-foot block wall separating the two homes. Initially, Patterson saw Hall with his hand on his wife's back and head, giving the impression that "something kinky was going on," Strunsky said. But after the witness turned away, she feared there was a more sinister reason for the way the neighbors were positioned, prompting her to look again, at which point she saw only the woman leaning back in the water. Believing the woman was being drowned, Patterson called 911, telling a dispatcher, "I saw a man holding a woman's head under water." In the meantime, Hall walked into his house and awoke his teenage daughter Courtney, purportedly to make sure she would be ready when the contractor arrived to work on the bathroom -- but really to have an alibi during the discovery of his drowned wife, according to Strunsky... Strunsky said an autopsy revealed "massive" petechial hemorrhaging in the victim's eyes and mouth, cuts on her head and bruises on her arms. She also had her husband's skin under her fingernails, according to the prosecutor, who said the evidence left no doubt about what happened to the 46-year-old wife and mother. "This was a brutal, violent execution," he said. Defense attorney Steve Harmon told jurors the prosecution's conclusions were wrong. "It's not murder; it's a tragic accident"... According to the attorney, the prosecution's principal witness, Patterson, did not see an actual attack, but instead witnessed Hall and his wife "help each other wash"... The defendant was a San Bernardino police officer for 12 years and briefly worked as a police chief in two Idaho towns, where corruption allegations led to his dismissal, according to published reports. [Full article here]
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