Death penalty sought for man after pregnant wife, unborn son killed
AUTAUGA COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - Prosecutors in Autauga County will seek the death penalty against a Prattville man who is charged with killing his pregnant wife and unborn son.
Hunter James Tatum, 25, was indicted by a grand jury last week on capital murder charges in connection to the fatal shooting of his wife Summer Knight Tatum, 26, and the subsequent death of the couple’s unborn son, since named Everett.
Tatum now faces three charges, including one for capital murder, one for murder of Summer Tatum, and one for murder of another person while having the intent of killing someone else, according to Autauga County Chief Deputy District Attorney C.J Robinson.
Robinson said the capital murder charge was filed because Tatum’s actions involved the murder of two or more people during the same criminal act. He added that the three simultaneous charges is not uncommon in a capital case. The state will be seeking the death penalty.
“If we’re gonna have a death penalty, if it’s going to exist, then it needs to exist for cases like this,” Robinson said.
Court documents state that Summer Tatum was five months pregnant when she was shot in the back of the head twice at the couple’s home on Sunset Court in Prattville. The shooting happened around midnight on Oct. 18 while the couple was involved in a physical altercation, according to court filings.
Police found Summer Tatum unresponsive, and she was taken to Baptist Medical Center South in life-threatening condition. Medical professionals performed an emergency delivery and placed the child in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU, where he died a short time later.
The death penalty is not always sought in a capital case, but Robinson said in this case it is warranted.
“We try to reserve that for cases that we believe is the worst of the worst. The most cruel, heinous, atrocious that you can come up with,” Robinson said.
“She was on her knees, she was begging for her life, and she was executed,” Robinson went on to say.
Tatum has remained in the Autauga Metro Jail charged with two counts of murder under a $400,000 cash bond since his arrest in October. Since the indictments, the state has requested Tatum be given no bond.
Robinson said Tatum’s formal arraignment will be held in a few weeks. He said Summer Tatum’s family has been notified of the upgraded charges.
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