Man denies he shot his pregnant wife, unborn son to death, claiming mental issues

Published 9:49 pm Tuesday, April 19, 2022

An Alabama man facing capital murder charges in the shooting deaths of his pregnant wife and their unborn son has pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.

Hunter James Tatum, 25, of Prattville, entered the plea Monday before Circuit Judge Ben Fuller, The Montgomery Advertiser reported.

A grand jury indicted Tatum on charges of capital murder in the death of Summer 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 alleged actions involved the murder of two or more people during the same criminal act. The state will be seeking the death penalty.

Tatum has been jailed at the Autauga Metro Jail since October on a $400,000 cash bond.

Summer Tatum was five months pregnant, according to court documents, when she was shot twice in the head in the couple’s home on Oct. 18. She was taken to a hospital but later died from her injuries. The baby was delivered in an emergency procedure but did not survive.

During Monday’s arraignment, defense attorneys J. Taylor and Branch Kloess asked the court for a mental evaluation of Tatum.

At an earlier preliminary hearing, Tatum’s former attorney, Chip Cleveland, claimed the couple was arguing, both armed, and his client tried to take a .38 caliber revolver from his wife’s hand when it went off.