Retired SB Police Det. Blair “Chris” Christopher Hall

The criminal trial for a retired San Bernardino police detective suspected in his wife’s death last year at the couple’s Calimesa home was postponed to January, according to Superior Court records.

Defendant Blair “Chris” Christopher Hall appeared for a jury trial Wednesday in Riverside Superior Court. However, Judge Michele D. Levine granted a defense request for a continuance and ordered Hall, who is out of custody on a bail bond, to return to court Jan. 13 for trial.

Prosecutors did not oppose the defense’s request for the continuance, court records indicate.

The Riverside County County District Attorney’s Office charged Hall, 50, with murder in the death of his wife, Cristi Hall, whose body was found in a hot tub at the couple’s home on June 7, 2007.

Hall pleaded not guilty to the charges. The couple’s three daughters, who have attended court proceedings to support their father, said he also had the support of their mother’s family.

Here’s an earlier article written about the case:

November 5, 2007 Section: News

Ex-detective going to trial
Author: Mike Cruz, Staff Writer

Article Text:

RIVERSIDE - A retired San Bernardino police detective was ordered held over for trial Monday in the death of his wife at the couple’s Calimesa home in June.

Superior Court Judge Charles Haines ruled there was sufficient evidence to hold Blair Christopher “Chris” Hall, 49, to answer charges of murder.

The couple’s three daughters, who attended the court proceedings to support their father, said he also had the support of their mother’s family.

Cristi Lynne Hall, 46, was found unresponsive and lying face down in a backyard hot tub at 6:38 a.m. June 7 at their home in the 1200 block of Belle Road.

A neighbor testified in court Monday that she heard a scream, looked over a brick wall into the backyard of the couple’s home and saw Hall in the hot tub and holding a woman’s head under the water.

“It was a panicked scream, as if one’s child had gone into the street,” testified Lindsay Kay Patterson, who was visiting family on military leave at the time.

Patterson said she also heard a gasp, as if someone had swallowed some water. But a detective later testified that he didn’t recall Patterson telling them about a gasp during the investigation.

There were bubbles in the hot tub but no splashing, the witness recalled in court.

Patterson went to tell her mother, she testified. And when the witness returned to look again, she said she saw Hall sitting in the hot tub with his arms out, resting against the edge.

Hall hurriedly got out of the hot tub, got a towel to dry off, put on his shoes, and appeared to walk in her direction with a blue and red bottle that had been near the hot tub, Patterson said.

She called out to him loudly, but Hall didn’t respond, the witness told the court. Other than hearing Hall get out of the hot tub, she didn’t hear any other sounds.

Patterson said she turned back to her mother and asked her to call 9-1-1.

Under questioning from Riverside-based defense lawyer Victor C. Marshall, Patterson said she heard a man’s voice screaming after she made the emergency call.

“I believe he was screaming ‘Cristi,”‘ Patterson explained.

Detective Jeff Buompensiero testified that Hall told detectives he went into the hot tub with his wife and that they were not engaging in any sexual activity.

Hall denied having anything to do with his wife’s death, Buompensiero said.

During the autopsy, Dr. Scott McCormick discovered various injuries, such as rib fractures, bruising, abrasions on the chest, and lacerations on the top and back of the head.

The body also had petechiae - a bleeding or hemorrhaging in the skin - in the chest, neck, face and inside the mouth, according to court testimony.

Buompensiero testified that he was told by the forensic pathologist that Cristi Hall’s cause of death was drowning. No finger marks were found on the body.

Under defense questioning, Buompensiero said Hall told detectives he found his wife in the hot tub, had grabbed onto her to pull her out of the water, and attempted to give her CPR. One of Hall’s daughter’s also helped him.

Cristi Hall was taken to San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 7:40 a.m., according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

Just before the judge made his ruling, Marshall asked that Hall not be held for trial and said that evidence presented did not support a charge of premeditated murder.

“I think that this case has been overfiled,” Marshall told the court.

Hall is scheduled to return to court Nov. 27 for a formal arraignment. He is out of custody on a bail bond, and the judge made no changes in bail.

Following the hearing, Deputy District Attorney Mark Davison said he expected that Hall would be held for trial. But neither Davison nor Marshall discussed details of the case.

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.

He moved to Cascade, Idaho, to be the police chief the following year, but he resigned in 1998. From there, Hall took the same post in Emmett, Idaho, where he lasted less than 100 days.

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