Christopher Northam's story is airing on the newest episode of Dateline NBC. Christopher Dale Northam, a savvy businessman and extreme sports building owner, was found dead at his job in Roseville five years ago. His son Chris Northam Jr. was convicted in his death. Dateline's episode "Family Secrets" will discuss the events leading up to his death. Expected to be on the show are Roseville police investigators, the victim's fiancee, and other relatives.
According to Dateline NBC's exclusive coverage in May of 2011, Roseville police responded to the scene of Skim X, where 911 dispatchers were told a dead body was inside. Upon entry, they found a white male with gunshot wounds to the body. He was pronounced dead and identified as 44-year-old Christopher Dale Northam, also known as Chris Northam Sr.
When speaking with Christopher Northam's family members, his son Chris Northam Jr. told police that he last saw his father alive after dropping him off at the Skim X complex but said his father called him immediately after, stating that someone had broken into the building. Twenty-five-year-old Chris Northam Jr. later heard what appeared to be gunshots, CBS Sacramento reported.
Skim X was a skim boarding and water skate park that was set to open the very week he was murdered. The prior location had been deemed too small to run the business successfully.
Police learned that the business was suffering financially, and there were several investors who were upset about the way things were going.Detectives wondered if one of these disgruntled investors could have had it out for the extreme sports entrepreneur. According to the Daily Mail, Roseville police lieutenant Mark Toubin made the following statement.
"We wanted to rule out as many people as we possibly could. At various points, the business had financial problems. 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."
To police, the story that the victim's son provided was not adding up, and as police dug deeper, they found that Christopher Northam's son, Chris Jon Michael Northam, stood to receive some insurance money in the event of his father's death.
With the financial component in mind, detectives set about connecting Chris Jr. to the crime, which they were able to do using video surveillance, financial statements, and wiretaps. Plus, an examination of cell phone records placed Chris Northam Jr. at the complex at the time of the murder.
It took investigators nine months to put together a solid case against Chris Northam Jr., who was later arrested and charged with murder.
Prosecutors say that the motive was money and that Chris Northam Jr., who was behind on his bills, needed money that the business alone was not going to immediately provide. Instead, he decided to get rich in an instant by planning to kill his father.
That fateful day, Chris Northam Jr. put his murderous plan into action by arriving at the Industrial Avenue complex, where he waited for his father to arrive. When he did, Chris Northam, shot him to death in cold blood and then pretended to be distraught, as indicated in a Facebook post about his father's death. The Daily Mail captured the contents of the Facebook post.
"I have experienced the worst year of my entire life. I lost my Dad in the most tragic way possible, lost our business that we built together and had dreams of accomplishing, and lost my family (my wife and step son). I don't know anyone that has gone through what I have this year. In some cases I am looking forward to the new year but I also know I will shed a few tears for the losses I have endured this year. I will miss those who I have lost."
To find out how much time Chris Northam received for killing his dad, watch Dateline NBC this Friday, September 16 at 10/9 p.m. Central. Last week, Dateline delved into the case of JonBenet Ramsey.[Featured Image by Joseph Kaczmarek/AP Images]