In the moments before Summer Tatum was shot two times in the head, she begged for her life and that of her unborn baby boy.
“‘I’ll stay, I’ll stay. I’ll do anything you want,'” Prattville police Investigator Wesley Clark said Tatum could be heard saying on home security footage. “‘Don’t hurt me, please, don’t hurt our baby, please don’t hurt our baby.'”
“‘No. Get away from me,'” Summer’s husband, Hunter Tatum, responded, Clark testified.
Hunter Tatum, charged with two counts of murder in the death of his wife and their baby boy, Everett, appeared in court Thursday for a preliminary hearing in front of Autauga County District Judge Joy Booth.
During the hearing, Clark recounted the moments that led up to Summer Tatum’s death through her husband’s statements to investigators and what could be heard on the home security video footage.
Prosecutors touched briefly on the motive for the shooting, reasserting the claim that she’d discovered her husband was cheating on her with a woman he’d met online. An argument broke out between the couple and she’d packed her bags ready to leave him when the shooting occurred.
Police collected video and audio from three cameras on the outside of the Tatums’ Sunset Court home after the early Oct. 18 shooting. Investigators also collected a copy of footage from a neighbor’s home.
“The video doesn’t show much, but it picks up the audio,” Clark said of the neighbor’s footage. “You can hear the victim screaming and then two gunshots.”
One camera, mounted over a back door of the Tatums’ home, pointed toward the exterior wall of the master bedroom, where Summer Tatum was found by first responders. The blinds on both exterior windows were open at the time of the incident, Clark said.
“You can see what appears to be Mr. Tatum dragging the victim across the floor after two gunshots,” Clark testified.
In a previous hearing, prosecutors alleged that Summer Tatum was turned away and on her knees during the argument in the couple’s bedroom when she was shot once in the back of her head near her neck and once near the top of her head.
Hunter Tatum’s new attorney, Clifford Cleveland, renewed a self-defense claim that his client was trying to wrestle away a .38-caliber firearm from Summer Tatum after she’d armed herself during the fight.
“Have you closed out a self-defense investigation?” Cleveland asked Clark.
“The investigation is not over,” Clark said. “I’ve issued multiple subpoenas.”
Cleveland, who was not representing Tatum at the time of a previous bond hearing, filed his own motion for a bond reduction. Booth previously put a cash only stipulation on Tatum’s $400,000 bail.
Tatum, Cleveland argued, is not a flight risk and was gainfully employed at the time of the shooting.
“He was the first person to call 911,” Cleveland said. “He agreed to give a statement to police without, as we say, lawyering up. If he was going to flee, he would have done it immediately after.”
Chief Deputy District Attorney C.J. Robinson pointed out that while Tatum did call 911, he did nothing else to help Summer.
“To my knowledge, there were no attempts to check on her. He did nothing to render aid,” Robinson said.
Booth said there was enough evidence to continue the cases to a grand jury. She also declined to make any changes to Tatum’s bond “due to the extremely violent nature” of the crime.
After the hearing, Robinson said capital murder is still on the table for Tatum and that the charges could be increased by the grand jury.
Contact Montgomery Advertiser reporter Kirsten Fiscus at 334-318-1798 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @KDFiscus
This article originally appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: Summer Tatum begged for her life before shooting in security audio