Retired SB cop held on suspicion of homicide

Wife found floating in backyard hot tub
Stacia Glenn, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 06/08/2007 12:00:00 AM PDT

CALIMESA - The wife of a retired San Bernardino police officer was found floating face-down in their backyard hot tub Thursday morning, and the husband was arrested on suspicion of homicide.

Cristi Lynne Hall, 46, was found unresponsive at 6:48 a.m.

Riverside County Sheriff's deputies pulled her from the water and administered first aid. She was rushed to San Gorgonio Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 7:35 a.m.

Sheriff's homicide detectives uncovered enough evidence, they said, to arrest Blair Christopher Hall, 49. He was booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside.

For most of the day, the Sheriff's Department withheld the names of the victim and the suspect, saying only that the death was suspicious and under investigation by the homicide unit.

The home where the incident occurred is listed in the report as in the 1200 block of Belle Road.

This is not Blair Hall's first run-in with the law.

A few years ago, he pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $19,000 from a state-administered federal grant intended to train a drug-enforcement task force, while he was police chief in Cascade, Idaho.

Though he told the judge he intended to pay it back, Hall admitted spending the money on a TV satellite dish, clothing and a room at Cactus Pete's casino in Nevada, court records show.

Hall started his career as a police officer in San Bernardino, where he was hired in 1982. He was promoted to narcotics detective in 1988 and medically retired in 1994 after being shot in the leg by a would-be carjacker.

He moved to Idaho to become police chief the following year with his wife and three daughters. He resigned in 1998.

From there, Hall took the same post in Emmett, Idaho, where he lasted fewer than 100 days.

He then became a security officer at San Manuel Bingo & Casino, where he was working when the embezzlement charges were filed.

Hall most recently ran a private-investigation agency in Crown Village Center in Calimesa.

The family could not be reached for comment late Thursday.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call investigators Darren Wills of the sheriff's central homicide unit at (760) 836-1632 or John Mott at the Cabazon Station at (951) 922-7100.

Contact writer Stacia Glenn at (909) 386-3887 or via e-mail at stacia.glenn@sbsun.com.

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