Former BYU student sent to prison for kidnapping

PROVO -- A Brigham Young University student was arrested on attempted kidnapping and assault charges Thursday after he allegedly used a stun gun on a woman and tried to handcuff her.

Police say Stetson Hallam, 20, was the 19-year-old woman's home teacher in their LDS ward, and the two lived in the same apartment complex south of BYU. Provo police Sgt. Mark Crosby said Hallam had pursued the woman romantically, but she did not have any interest in him. He was persistent in trying to date her, Crosby said, to the point where she felt "creeped out" by Hallam.

"He kind of set her off, that he was just a little weird," Crosby said.

According to a police affidavit, Hallam repeatedly contacted the woman, telling her he had a gift for her. She put off meeting with Hallam until she could have a roommate present, police say, and she was successful until Tuesday.

Around 3 p.m. that day, Hallam contacted the woman and asked to meet with her, according to the affidavit. She reportedly told him she could not because she would be working until 9:30 p.m., and she said he could leave the gift at her apartment. However, when she arrived at her apartment complex, she saw Hallam standing outside and felt he was waiting for her, according to the affidavit. She went to her apartment through a side entrance, but allegedly found Hallam waiting for her at her door.

Hallam allegedly convinced the woman to come with him to a common laundry room in the basement of the complex, where he told her one of his roommates had helped him set up a scavenger hunt for the woman's gift. The woman reportedly told police she could see no signs of other people present and became suspicious.

According to the affidavit, Hallam told the woman the gift was "junk art" and was located in a bin underneath a table in the room. The woman reportedly described the bin to police as five feet long by two feet wide and three feet tall, with a lockable lid and handles. Hallam reportedly told the woman some of her gift was Easter candy, which he had left in his car. He then allegedly left the room, during which time the woman did not approach the bin, believing it may be part of a practical joke, according to police.

When Hallam returned, he allegedly encouraged the woman to open the bin and pulled it out from under the table to alleviate her fear, according to the affidavit. The woman then reportedly opened the bin and found it to be empty.

At this point, Hallam allegedly produced a stun gun, a handheld rectangular device with two metal prongs on the end. He allegedly pressed the device against the woman's arm and she felt a surge pass through her body, according to the affidavit. Police say the surge incapacitated the woman and caused her to collapse to the floor, at which point Hallam pinned her to the ground.

The woman reportedly became frightened for her life and did not know what Hallam's true intentions were, according to the affidavit. She allegedly began screaming and fighting Hallam, who police say placed his hand over her mouth. He also allegedly produced a pair of handcuffs and put one of the rings on the woman's left hand. While he was applying the handcuffs, police say, Hallam's hand slipped and his finger went into the woman's mouth. She allegedly bit down on his finger until he let her go and apologized, claiming it was all an April Fool's joke.

The woman was able to get away and reported the incident to police April 8, according to police. Crosby said he did not know why the report was delayed, but a delay is common with this type of allegations. When she reported the incident, burn marks were still visible on her arm, as was bruising on her wrist, Crosby said.

"Several days later, we're still able to have signs," he said.

Police conducted a search on Hallam's room and car late Thursday night, but Crosby said he does not know what was found. Crosby said police were interested in finding the bin the girl described, which was not an item usually found in the laundry room. Although Crosby said Hallam never tried to force the woman into the bin or trick her into getting inside, he said it is still an important piece of evidence given the circumstances.

"His whole premise was wanting her to open that box," he said.

Hallam was arrested Thursday night and booked into the Utah County Jail, where he is being held on a $5,000 bond on third-degree felony charges of aggravated assault and attempted kidnapping. According to the affidavit, police found a bite mark on the middle finger of Hallam's left hand.

Crosby said police are interviewing Hallam's roommates, but are uncertain which roommate he may have been referring to with the scavenger hunt because Hallam would not speak with police.

"He's not cooperating with us," Crosby said.

Crosby said Hallam does not appear to have any criminal history, and police have found no evidence so far of any history of mental illness.

"That's something that we're going to follow up on," he said.

Carri Jenkins, spokeswoman for BYU, said she had little information about the incident Friday. However, she confirmed that Hallam is a sophomore at the university. She said the university's Honor Code Office will now begin its own review of the incident to determine what actions should be taken. If it is determined that a person is a danger to the community, he or she may be banned from campus, but Jenkins said she does not know what decision will be made in this case.

"Every case is handled on an individual basis," she said.

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