Former Las Animas County Attorney Shot To Death; Wife Arrested

Las Animas Deputy Witnessed Fatal Shooting

Former Las Animas County Attorney Jim Tatum was shot to death and his wife was arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder after a fight at their home, authorities said.

An arrest warrant said Tatum, 68, had slapped and punched Ann Tatum, 57, on Thursday before she pulled a .38-caliber revolver from her purse and shot him repeatedly, then took another revolver away from him and fired again.

Las Animas County Sheriff's Deputy John Martinez was staying with the couple at the time and witnessed the shooting, Sheriff James Casias said.

The affidavit said Martinez tried to break the couple apart before the shooting but was pushed aside and struck his head, "dazing him momentarily."

After he was shot the first time, Jim Tatum fell to the floor, then grunted, got back on his feet and grabbed another gun from a holster on the kitchen counter, the affidavit said.

Ann Tatum grabbed that revolver from her husband and turned it on him, firing as he fell to the floor, the affidavit said. She set the two pistols on the counter and left the kitchen, the affidavit said.

Martinez called 911, and responding deputies found Jim Tatum in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor. Martinez said he found Ann Tatum in a bedroom, apparently in shock.

Ann Tatum was taken to Mount St. Rafael Hospital for treatment of her injuries and then arrested following an investigation.

She was being held under $175,000 bail.

Jim Tatum was county attorney until 2003, when his contract was not renewed. He opened a law office in Trinidad after leaving the county attorney's office.

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