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An Alabama man faces the possibility of the death penalty after prosecutors say he shot and killed his wife and her unborn son as she begged for her life, following a dispute over a broken video game console.
Prosecutors will seek the death penalty against Hunter Tatum, the Autauga County District Attorney’s Office confirmed on Tuesday. Tatum, 25, was indicted by a grand jury on capital murder and two counts of intentional murder on March 4 in his wife, Summer Tatum's killing last year, according to court records.
“If the death penalty’s going to exist — if it’s going to be an option in cases, then this is the kind of case it needs to be an option for,” C.J. Robinson, chief assistant district attorney for the 19th Judicial Circuit, told Oxygen.com.
Hunter Tatum dialed 911 shortly after midnight on Oct. 18, 2021, and allegedly told the operator that he’d opened fire his pregnant wife. When officers arrived, they say he openly confessed to shooting his spouse and unborn child with a handgun.
“It’s all my fault,” Hunter Tatum told responding law enforcement before he was handcuffed, according to an incident report obtained by Oxygen.com.
Summer Tatum, who was still alive when police responded, was found moaning in a pool of blood in the home’s master bedroom, charging documents stated. Police also seized a firearm — the suspected murder weapon — from the property.
The Alabama woman, who was six months pregnant and suffered from cerebral palsy, was transported to a nearby hospital and placed on life support, where she later died. The couple’s unborn son, Everett, also didn’t survive.
“Our job is to protect victims and to speak for those who can’t speak for themselves,” Robinson said. “You’re talking about an unborn child that never did anything wrong to anybody. In a fit of rage, to take a gun, and absolutely murder your disabled, pregnant wife. …This is a different level when you can do such a cold, evil act like this to your pregnant wife.”
Officials said the domestic shooting was fueled by both by his online infidelity and a dispute involving Hunter Tatum’s video game console.
“Mr. Tatum was having an affair over a gaming console with someone in another country,” Robinson stated. “[His] wife found out about it. She essentially destroyed the gaming console, which led to an argument, and she was executed.”
Summer Tatum’s murder was captured by home surveillance footage, prosecutors said. During a pre-trial hearing, investigators recounted a verbatim — and chilling — exchange between the couple moments before shots were fired.
“‘I’ll stay, I’ll stay,’” Summer Tatum pleaded with her husband, according to the recordings, Prattville Police Department investigator Wesley Clark testified during a preliminary court hearing, the Montgomery Advertiser reported.“‘I’ll do anything you want. Don’t hurt me, please; don’t hurt our baby.’”
Hunter Tatum allegedly fatally shot his wife moments later. According to investigators, he made no attempts to revive or check on his spouse prior to the arrival of the police. The shocking nature of the double murder is what prompted prosecutors to seek upgraded capital murder charges against the Alabama man.
“It sounds very clearly like she was begging for her life,” Robinson said of the troubling recording. “It was very impactful.”
Tatum’s arraignment is scheduled for April 18. His attorney, J. Carlton Taylor, declined to comment on the open case when contacted by Oxygen.com on Tuesday.
The 25-year-old is being held without bond at an Autauga County detention facility, according to online jail records.
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