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Bound on murder charges; boyfriend claims they stopped to get a diaper bag out of car's trunk

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By The Staff

By JENNIFER RAYMOND

rcraymond@bellsouth.net

Robert Stoll, the Morgan County man who was charged with killing a pregnant Scott County woman and her unborn child, was brought before Judge Mike Davis Thursday for a preliminary hearing.

Davis ruled that there was probable cause to send the case to the Grand Jury.

Stoll is charged with two counts of second-degree murder after firing shots into a car outside his home on Morgan County Hwy. on Feb. 11.

The shot hit 25-year-old Jessica Hatmaker, the driver of the white Ford Escort, in the lower back resulting in her and her unborn child’s death.

The judge heard arguments from Assistant District Attorney Bill Reedy and Public Defender Susan Fuller who interviewed Hatmaker’s boyfriend Dustin Gunter and Morgan County Chief Deputy William Angel.

According to Gunter, the car was stopped in front of Stoll’s home because his and Hatmaker’s 15-month-old son, who was in the back seat of the car, was crying and they were going to retrieve a diaper bag from the trunk.

The other passenger, Audie Ellis, got out of the car to get the diaper bag, Gunter said. Ellis then jumped back in the car, Gunter continued.

“He said, ‘that guy’s got a gun,’”Gunter said.

Once Ellis was back in the car, that’s when Gunter heard the shot.

“When we pulled out, she said, ‘I think I’ve been shot,’” Gunter said.

Gunter added that Hatmaker continued to drive, but then “she just fell over.”

Gunter and Ellis then moved Hatmaker to the passenger side. Gunter took over at the wheel and drove to the Ambulatory Care Center in Wartburg where Hatmaker was soon after pronounced dead.

According to Angel, Stoll was interviewed the day of the shooting after Hatmaker’s car matched the description of a car reported to have been involved in the theft of Stoll’s truck radiator. Dispatch received the call about the alleged theft and a short time later received a call from the Ambulatory Care Center about a pregnant woman being shot.

Angel said that Stoll told him he had seen Ellis steal a radiator off his truck and he believed that he had what looked like a gun. He then fired at the vehicle with a .30-30 high powered rifle.

“I told him that someone had been killed as a result of the shot he fired,” Angel said.

When asked, Angel said that a gun nor a radiator have been found near the property.

Fuller asked the judge to reduce the $500,000 bond, which she said was a price the Stoll’s couldn’t afford.

The judge reduced the bond to $200,000.