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Troopers say recent Fairbanks standoff, fire was part of a homicide-suicide

By KTVA CBS 11 News 2:45 PM March 7, 2017

Investigators are calling a recent incident in Fairbanks a domestic violence-related homicide and suicide.

The deaths of 43-year-old Christina Hallum and her son, 23-year-old Stephen Hallum, occurred on March 1. Just after 7 a.m., Alaska State Troopers were notified of a domestic disturbance and responded to an apartment building on the 500 block of Old Steese Highway in Fairbanks, according to an online dispatch by AST spokeswoman Megan Peters.

In an update to the original dispatch, Peters wrote that someone in the apartment building called for help after seeing Stephen Hallum attacking Christina Hallum. That witness fled and was unhurt, Peters added.

Inside one of the apartments, troopers found a woman’s body, later identified as Christina Hallum, according to Peters.

Peters said a man, now known to be Stephen Hallum, had barricaded himself in the back area of the apartment, and so troopers were unable to retrieve his mother’s body. At some point, Stephen Hallum allegedly set the building on fire.

Local fire crews put out the blaze, and both Hallums’ bodies were recovered from the building. Peters said the state medical examiner’s office conducted autopsies on both and ruled Christina Hallum’s death a homicide as a result of blunt force trauma and stab wounds. Stephen Hallum died as a result of smoke inhalation and self-strangulation, according to the medical examiner, who ruled his death a suicide. Their next of kin have been notified of their deaths.

According to Peters’ dispatch, Stephen Hallum had been released from jail the day before the incident. Online court records show he had pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault at a hearing that day, and other charges of resisting arrest, misconduct involving a weapon and criminal mischief were dropped.

Court documents from the case show Stephen Hallum was sentenced to immediately serve 60 days for the offense, which a Fairbanks court clerk confirmed.

The fire caused extensive damage to the apartment building, displacing six families, according to a spokeswoman at the Fairbanks office of the American Red Cross of Alaska.

This is a developing story; please check back for updates as they become available.

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