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Son arrested for the murder of Roseville entrepreneur

By: ToLewis, The Press Tribune
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Roseville police have arrested a Sacramento man whom they believe murdered his own father for financial gain last year. Christopher Jon Michael Northam, 25, formerly of Lincoln, was arrested Wednesday morning after a nine-month investigation that included a nationwide search of financial records, wire taps and other types of surveillance, according to police. Northam’s father, Christopher Dale Northam, was found murdered on May 30, 2011 inside a Roseville sports complex where he had hoped to open the world’s first “extreme skimboarding” park. The senior Northam had founded Skim X and the concept of Extreme Skim, a new action sport that uses what looks like skateboard ramps with water flowing out the top, and specially-designed boards which athletes use to hydroplane and perform tricks. Christopher D. Northam had hopes for the new sport to make it to the X Games and the Olympics. He planned on opening the business around the beginning of summer last year. On May 30, neighbors of the business, located in the 8200 block of Industrial Avenue, reported hearing a loud argument followed by gun shots shortly after 3 p.m. Christopher D. Northam was found inside the building deceased with multiple gunshot wounds, according to Lt. Mark Toupin of the Roseville Police Department. Toupin said police believe the senior Northam’s son was “lying in wait” and used a .223 rifle, similar to an AR15, which is the civilian version of the M16 rifle used by today’s military, to shoot his father several times. The murder weapon has not been found, Toupin said. Toupin said that police had to carefully sort through “mounds of evidence” and eliminate all potential suspects in the case before making the arrest. “We determined that Christopher Jon Michael Northam was at the scene of the crime that day,” Toupin said at a press conference Wednesday. “We were able to prove conclusively that they were both there at the same time.” Police used cell phone and Wi-Fi records to make that conclusion, Toupin said. Toupin said that police had interviewed several potential suspects in the case and meticulously ruled each one out during the investigation. “We wanted to rule out as many people as we possibly could,” he said. “Think of everybody whom somebody might say was involved and rule everything out, and we have.” Toupin could not specify how the younger Northam expected to profit off the murder of his father, but he did say he was an officer with the company. “(Skim X) was constantly seeking new investors,” Toupin said. “At various points, the business had financial problems.” Larry Flure was a neighbor to Skim X at Allstar Powder Coating on Industrial Avenue when the business was located in the 10000 block of Industrial Avenue during its initial stages. Flure told the Press Tribune in June that Christopher D. Northam was behind on his rent and owed a lot of money prior to relocating the business to the 8200 block of Industrial Avenue in 2010. “He was a business man,” Toupin said. “A number of his business dealings were a little bit contentious, and we had to talk to those various suspects in the case and rule them out.” Also arrested in the case was the younger Northam’s ex-wife, Averill Elizabeth Easley, 34, of Roseville, who is charged with being an accessory to murder after the fact. Toupin said Easley was interviewed several times in the case and repeatedly gave police false information which prolonged the investigation. Toupin said Easley and Christopher Jon Michael Northam were engaged at the time of the murder. The two were married sometime after and the marriage has since been annulled, he said. Christopher Jon Michael Northam was arrested around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday during a traffic stop on Eureka Road in Roseville. Easley was arrested around the same time at a gym in Rocklin, Toupin said. Their first appearance in court is tentatively scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24 in Department 13 at the Placer County Jail courtroom. Toby Lewis can be reached at tobyl@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @TobyLewis_RsvPT.