Former BYU student sent to prison for kidnapping

2010-09-08T00:25:00Z 2010-09-08T07:31:44Z Former BYU student sent to prison for kidnappingHeidi Toth - Daily Herald Daily Herald
September 08, 2010 12:25 am  • 

AMERICAN FORK -- Stetson Hallam, a former BYU student who used a Taser on a woman in an attempt to kidnap her as part of what he said was a prank, was sentenced to one to 15 years in prison on Wednesday.

Fourth District Judge Christine Johnson said she agreed with Adult Probation and Parole's assessment that Hallam, 20, was a danger to the community given the disturbing nature of the offense and that if his victim had not screamed and fought back, what Hallam said was a prank could have turned into something far more serious.

"It gravely concerns me that there was something else going on here, and we'll never know, I suppose, what it was that you intended to do," she said.

Hallam's attorney, Sean Petersen, asked for either probation or jail time instead of prison time, saying the young man was getting treatment for his depression and that because he had no criminal history, the sentence should be less than the recommended time.

"At the time, clearly he didn't anticipate what would happen based on his actions that night," Petersen said. "He understands that his actions that night were not well thought out."

Hallam echoed that and said he was taking responsibility for his actions that night and getting the help he needed to overcome depression and anger issues. He said he regretted his actions that night and didn't understand the pain he would put his own family and the victim and her family through.

"I realize my actions were not well thought out, and I had no understanding of how it would affect her, and I realized that when I read her letter, that there was more of an impact than I had guessed," he told the judge.

Johnson wasn't moved.

"It doesn't sound to me like you're saying, 'I shouldn't have done this;' you're saying you should have done this in a different way," she said.

She also said that although Hallam said the action was a prank, he expressed anger and jealousy of his victim and did seem to target her specifically.

Hallam pleaded guilty to kidnapping and obstruction of justice on July 27. He was arrested after the 19-year-old woman in his LDS ward reported that Hallam attacked her in a laundry room in their apartment complex. Police say Hallam was the woman's home teacher and had some romantic interest in her, but the interest was not returned.

Hallam reportedly contacted the woman repeatedly, telling her he had a gift for her. Police say Hallam met the woman around 9:30 p.m. April 6 and told her a roommate helped him prepare a scavenger hunt for the gift in the common laundry room. In the laundry room, police say, he told her to open a bin, which she reportedly described as 5 feet long by 2 feet wide and 3 feet tall, with a lockable lid and handles.

When the woman opened the empty bin, Hallam pressed a stun gun to the woman's arm, and she fell to the ground, according to police.

Hallam then pinned the woman down and put a handcuff on one of her arms. At the same time, he covered her mouth with his hand while she screamed and fought him, but she bit down on his finger until he got up and apologized, claiming it was an April Fool's joke, according to police.

When the woman reported the incident to police two days later, she had burn marks on her arm and bruising on her wrist, according to police. When Hallam was arrested, police say he had a bite mark on his left middle finger.

Prosecutor Tim Taylor said he asked for prison time instead of jail time so Hallam could get the treatment offerings that the state prison could provide.

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