Man faces two counts of murder after killing of woman, unborn child

By: Jim Freeman
By: Jim Freeman

WARTBURG, Tenn (WVLT) -- A young mother-to-be from Scott County is dead, and a Harriman man charged with killing her and her unborn baby.

It's an investigation with a lot of unanswered questions.

Volunteer TV's Jim Freeman has more.

We're getting answers to lots of questions surrounding this morning's fatal shooting in Morgan County.

Police tell us a radiator was stolen and shots were fired.

25 year old Jessica Hatmaker and her unborn child are dead as the result of a single gunshot wound.

it happened in Bitter Creek area in Oakdale.

Sheriff Dennis Ledbetter outlines what happened.

"A vehicle pulled in there and stole some property there and the vehicle was leaving and shots were fired and a short time later we had a vehicle show up at the ambulatory car center in Wartburg with 2 victims in the vehicle that had been shot."

Police then went to the home of Robert Stoll on US 27.

"He was there. He admitted to firing the shot."

Hatmaker and a passenger Audie Ellis were shot.

Ellis suffered wounds to the leg.

Ledbetter continues, "shots went into the vehicle and into the back seat and struck the driver of the vehicle."

Sheriff Ledbetter says Hatmaker was driving until she collapsed.

Then her boyfriend, Dustin Gunter, put her in the passenger seat and drove on to the ambulatory care center.

That's where things took a turn for the worse.

"She was later pronounced dead. Also she had an 8 month fetus inside her that was also pronounced dead."

Stoll remains in the Morgan County Jail.

"There will be 2 charges of second degree murder and charges are pending against the other person in the vehicle."

Sheriff Ledbetter says there may be further charges placed upon Gunter and Ellis with regard to the stolen radiator.

Bond for Stoll has not been set.

Nor has a court date.


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  • by ANONYMOUS Location: NOT TELLiNG YOUU!! on Sep 9, 2008 at 11:18 AM
    UMMMM.. MYY 0PiNi0N ISS THAT YES H3 SHOULD BE SENTENCED TOP THE DEATH PENALTLY!! THXXXX..
  • by Doreen Location: MI on Feb 17, 2008 at 09:46 AM
    I would like to let the family and friends of Jessica know that I am truly sorry for your loss. You will be in my prayers. Do not let the comments on this site upset you. I am certain all cold and negative comments are members of Stolls family. It is obvious That Stoll is guilty. With his past record he will only get worse. As for Gunter and Ellis, they should do time as well. May God bless you and help you through this.
  • by Sam Location: TN on Feb 17, 2008 at 09:26 AM
    My Dear Melba, I know that you care about Robert and his dad deaply. However this was not self defense since they were already driving away...This was murder in the first degree and committed by anger. Steeling the radiator may have been what started it but he still made a conscience choice to kill them. Most people in jail for murder have loved ones at home such as yourself and Robert. People can not base a conviction on the family of the criminal. If he gets away with something this bad, what will he do next. If the shoe was on the other foot, how would you feel? I hope for yoursake and Robert's he gets some anger management leasons while he is in prison so he doesn't do it again if and when he comes out.
  • by Melba Location: Morgan on Feb 16, 2008 at 09:37 PM
    I know tha this was a terrible thing.Did anyone think of Robert's son?Think of what he's going through?His father pertects him and his home,now his dad's in jail.What does that tell you?The man had a gun pointing at Robert.What if the man shot his gun and hit Robert's son.Is'nt that child indangerment on the theives?Or even intent to kill?,Pointing a gun at someone.I always thought it was.Robert did'nt know what the theives were going to do.Robert did'nt do anything wrong.Now his son is scared for his dad.His son probbly don't understand why his dad's in jail and the theives are out.They are probbly doing the same thing.I bet other people are afarid to pertect what's theirs.They don't want to end up like Robert,for pertecting what's theirs.What happend to the 2nd.amendment?The right to bare arms,pertect what's your's?Anyone in the N.R.A.?I'm sure you all would do the same.How about all of you go to his next court date,show him some type of support.3-6-08Morgan Co. court house. I'm goin
  • by Shannon Location: Nashville on Feb 16, 2008 at 09:11 PM
    This is the saddest thing I have read in a long time. My heart breaks for the family and friends of this young lady and her unborn child. I hope her loved ones haven't read the comments that people wrote in response to this. It is sad to know that people would ever think this was a proper punishment. Shame on you!
  • by Anonymous on Feb 16, 2008 at 09:05 PM
    This is Melissa Stoll again.Robert neeeds a good lawyer.His pub.att.told him she was to busy to talk to him.Please if there's any att. that would like to take this case Probono,please let me know.Jessica was known to do drugs.So were the other people she was with.How stupid can you be to pull into someones drive in the day with them home?You'd have to be on drugs.You live in Tenn. everyone owns a gun!!!If they don't you need to get one.You may the next victum of theft,or worse.I feel for the family of Jessica.I'm sorry it happend.Robert should'nt be in jail for pertecting himself,our son,or property.They were the ones that drove to our home.They knew what they were doing when they left home.If the man didnt point the gun at Robert,Robert would of never went for his gun.Now our son is without a father.His other 18yr. son is off to Iraq.Robert just became a grandfather and may never be able to see his first grandson.This man had a gun pointing at Robert.You need to know this.
  • by laurie Location: mi on Feb 16, 2008 at 08:53 PM
    this story is so sad!!! So many people affected. A young mother of a little girl 3 and a little boy 14 months, and a baby who's future only a mother could imagine...and now 2 kids are motherless. Do you truely believe if this case went to court that she would have gotten the death penalty. Grandparents, awaiting the arrival of another grandchild, now having to care and also explain to them why their mom is not coming home. And knowing her daughter will never again walk through the door. A sister who couldn't wait to spoil a new little one. Yet if this case would have gotten to court for theft of a radiator and the sentencing would have been death, everyone would have been up in a fit because the punishment did'nt fit the crime. This story has 2 sides we are trying to bring up kids to understand that guns are not the answer yet elders believe it is. What's this teach kids and why are we surprised when awful things happen in schools because they're not taught to control anger.
  • by Dee Location: TN on Feb 16, 2008 at 08:20 PM
    I am appauled with the comments for this sad incident that occured. This was a tragedy. A theft of an inadimate object should be handle through the law not death. If people feel that this death was justifable due to a theft of a car part, then maybe we should all get a hand gun and shoot anyone who breaks the law no matter how trivial. Forgoodness sakes, why don't we let all the murder's out of jail... since I am sure they all feel they had just cause for their actions. We can use all the money we save by not housing inmates for "justifiable" crimes and we would all have new radiators.
  • by Maria Location: Michigan on Feb 16, 2008 at 07:55 PM
    Seriously, there is nothing that anyone could do outside of murder that means that they deserve to lose thier life. I could understand if it was self (SELF, as in his LIFE) defense, which it wasn't. So what all of you people are trying to tell people is that the price of her life was a car part. Come on people, get some common sense and grow up.. "She paid the price"? Seriously, go tell her family that.
  • by k Location: knoxville on Feb 13, 2008 at 04:27 PM
    The man was protecting his property, he had no clue there was a pregnant woman driving the getaway car! He should not be in jail-period.
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