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Court documents outline murder charge against Christianson - KXLH.com | Helena, Montana

Court documents outline murder charge against Christianson

Posted: Updated:
Linda Christianson Linda Christianson
Steven Fletcher Steven Fletcher
Fletcher was found dead at his home at 5405 Lower River Road on Sunday, March 5th. Fletcher was found dead at his home at 5405 Lower River Road on Sunday, March 5th.
GREAT FALLS -

Linda Christianson has been arrested for the stabbing death of Steven Fletcher.

She is charged with deliberate homicide and tampering with evidence related to his death.

A press release from the Cascade County Sheriff's Office says that Christianson was arrested in Ravalli County.

Fletcher was found dead at his home at 5405 Lower River Road.

Officers responded to the home for a report of a suicide at about 4:47 p.m. on Sunday, March 5th.

During the initial stages of the investigation, deputies had reason to believe that the death was not a suicide and deemed the scene and circumstances suspicious. 

Court document filed on Wednesday state: 

The nature of the injury and the blood evidence do not support that Fletcher committed suicide. The evidence shows that the knife was clearly placed in Fletcher's hand after he was deceased. There was no evidence that anyone was in the residence at the time of death other than Christianson and Fletcher.

Detectives later learned that Fletcher was in the process of leaving Christianson, and that he had recently put in an application for housing for only himself and his children without Christianson.

We will update you as we get more information.

PREVIOUSLYInvestigation into Steven Fletcher's death continues
PREVIOUSLYFletcher identified as the man who was found dead on Sunday

Information below is from the charging documents filed in Cascade County; it has been edited for clarity.


On March 5, 2017, a call was received regarding a suicide attempt at a residence on Lower River Road. Cascade County Sheriff's Deputies responded and made contact with Linda Christianson, who opened the door and came outside. Christianson was "crying hysterically," stating "He is in here." Christianson had blood on her hands and stated that no one else was present. A deputy went inside and saw a man - later identified as Fletcher - sitting slumped on the couch directly inside the front door. There was blood smeared on the deck, on Christianson, in the doorway, on a board blocking the entry into the kitchen, and on the floor. 

Christianson entered before the deputy was able to  and as she did, she crawled up onto the couch over the top of Fletcher in an apparent attempt to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation; however, she appeared to be blowing into his face from a few inches away. The deputy noted that Fletcher was wearing a white tank-top that had blood pooled on the upper portion. Loosely in his hand was a knife that had an approximate 8 to 10-inch blade, and the blade was about 1.5 inches wide. There was a vertical 1.5-inch by 1/2-inch stab wound on Fletcher's upper-left chest.

After getting Christianson away from Fletcher's body, the deputy checked for a pulse, but was unable to find one. Another deputy arrived and they began to speak with Christianson.

She told the deputies that she has been sleeping in the bedroom and Fletcher had been sleeping on the couch because they had been arguing the night before. She said she came out of the bedroom and found Fletcher slumped over on the couch with the knife in his hand. She told deputies that Fletcher was gurgling from his mouth but did not say anything. She said she immediately put pressure on the bleeding wound and attempted mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Christianson said that she then tried to find a phone to call 911 but couldn't find one, so she ran across the road to a neighbor's to make the call.

Upon further observation of Fletcher and the surroundings, deputies noted that he had blood on his face and around his neck. The chest wound was a vertical stabbing penetration wound parallel to the sternum. There was blood spatter approximately six feet away on a 4x4 painted wood board that was being used to block the entrance into the kitchen. There was blood on Fletcher's right palm and left hand. However, there did not appear to be much if any blood on the knife handle despite the blood covering his hand that was loosely over/around the knife. The knife blade also appeared to be only sparingly covered with blood approximately 1.5 to 1.75 inches up to the blade. There was an ottoman shoved up to the front door that had to be moved out of the way to enter through the door. Despite th ottoman having to be moved out of the entryway, the blood on the floor in the entryway was not disturbed and appeared to have been there long enough to already dry.

Christianson had blood smeared on her hands and appeared to have wiped her face, transferring some blood onto her face. She also had a small amount of blood on the front of her skirt with a larger amount of blood on the back of her skirt. A later observation showed that it appeared that she had previously had more blood on her hands, but that it appeared she had washed her hands or wiped blood from them. 
When deputies talked with Christianson to determine what had happened, she repeatedly made statement such as "He killed himself," and "Please tell me he's not dead." Christianson appeared to be under the influence of drugs, according to court documents: dryness around her mouth, fidgeting movements, fast and rambling speech, distracted speech, and glazed-over eyes. Neighbors told officers that Christianson was known to use meth, and to their knowledge, had done so within the last five days.

While taking Christianson to the Cascade County Detention Center, the officers heard her mumbling in the back seat. She alternated between asking what was happening, to being upset, to seemingly sleeping. She then started talking about Fletcher's ex-girlfriend, who she said was mad at Fletcher and had threatened recently to come over and harm him.

A search warrant was issued and Deputies processed the residence for evidence. They saw several cell phones in the immediate vicinity of where Fletcher had been found in the living room. A view of the knife showed that on one side of the blade, blood was further up from the tip of the blade than on the other side of the blade. Fletcher's right palm was covered in blood, but the knife handle appeared to be clean. A large amount of blood was seen on the floor inside the door and on a board blocking the entry into the kitchen, where were a few feet away from where Fletcher's body was on the couch. The blood on the floor and limited amount on one of his shoes was not consistent with him stabbing himself and then ending up on the couch. A pocketknife was found in his pocket, but the knife used to stab him appeared to have come from a knife set in the kitchen that was knocked over; another knife from that set was found on the floor, as though the knife used in the stabbing had been grabbed in a hurry.

Christianson's claim that Fletcher had stabbed himself was not consistent with the blood evidence and the state of the scene. The knife used appeared to have been quickly taken from the kitchen, yet time was taken to place the wood back, blocking the entry into the kitchen. The nature of the injury and the blood evidence do not support that Fletcher committed suicide. The evidence shows that the knife was clearly placed in Fletcher's hand after he was deceased. There was no evidence that anyone was in the residence at the time of death other than Christianson and Fletcher.

Detectives later learned that Fletcher was in the process of leaving Christianson, and that he had recently put in an application for housing for only himself and his children without Christianson.

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