Prosecutor: Man shot pregnant wife twice in head after she discovered affair
AUTAUGA COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - A Prattville man charged with killing his pregnant wife had his first court appearance on Thursday, attending virtually on a large monitor from the Autauga Metro Jail.
Hunter James Tatum, 25, was informed by a judge that he faces two counts of murder for the deaths of his wife, Summer Knight Tatum, and her unborn son, since named Everett.
“She was executed and she was pregnant. She had cerebral palsy and the child is dead,” said Elmore County Chief Assistant District Attorney for the 19th Judicial Circuit C.J. Robinson.
The shooting happened around midnight Monday while the couple was involved in a physical altercation, according to court filings. Those documents state that Summer Tatum, who was five months pregnant, was subsequently shot in the back of the head.
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 hearing got into granular details with allegations the shooting happened after the couple got into an argument because Summer Tatum reportedly caught her husband having an affair through his computer with a woman overseas.
Defense lawyer Trey Norman suggested it was “self-defense” and that there was “no proof” connecting Tatum to the alleged murders. Prosecutors disagreed. In fact, Robinson was quite blunt about Hunter James Tatum’s intentions.
“I think anybody that could shoot a pregnant, disabled wife twice in the head is absolute evil. Now was that motive over an affair? We believe it was,” said Robinson.
Norman was given an opportunity to do an interview to share more of his thoughts about the case, but he declined saying he typically does not grant interviews during a murder case.
The hearing lasted all of 15 minutes. Tatum was escorted back to his cell afterward.
Hunter Tatum was initially held on a first-degree assault charge at the Autauga Metro Jail with a $150,000 bond. However, his bond was increased to $400,000 after charges were upgraded to murder following with the deaths of both the mother and child.
Attorneys on both sides argued over Tatum’s bond with prosecutors asking that it be raised and the defense attorney seeking to have it lowered with his client getting an ankle monitor.
The judge did not increase or lower the bond amount and set the defendant’s preliminary hearing for Nov. 4.
Summer Tatum worked as a registered radiologic technologist. She was just 26. A GoFundMe account has been set up for her family. As of Thursday, it had raised about $7,000 of a $40,000 goal.
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