A short and tumultuous marriage ended fatally in July 1993, leaving a young mother dead. Then, a trailer in Brandon, Mississippi, became the scene of a brutal shooting that will be remembered for a long time.
‘Fatal Vows: Black Pearl,’ a show on Investigation Discovery, is about Tammy Ellis Gatlin’s murder and her husband’s eventual conviction.
So, if you’re curious about the details of this case, we’ve got you covered.
Also Read: ‘Avanell Cowgill’ Murder Case
What Caused Tammy Ellis Gatlin’s Death?
Tammy was adopted as a baby and grew up to be very close to her family. She was described as brilliant and outgoing, and she was always making people laugh.
Tammy met David Glenn Gatlin when she was 15 years old in 1988. David was two years older at the time. Despite her mother’s objections, they began dating and married when Tammy was 19 years old.
Unfortunately, they had separated by 1993, and she had filed for divorce.
Tammy was living with her mother in Pearl, Mississippi, at the time and had just given birth to David’s baby.
She and the weeks-old infant were visiting a childhood friend when tragedy struck. Multiple 911 calls about gunfire at a trailer in Brandon prompted authorities to rush there on July 2, according to the episode.
Tammy, 20, was found inside with a gunshot wound to the head. Randy Walker, her buddy, was shot in the head as well but amazingly lived, and the baby was unhurt.
Who was Tammy Ellis Gatlin’s killer?
Tammy’s mother was adamantly opposed to Tammy and David dating while they were still in school. David eventually joined the National Guard, effectively ending their relationship.
However, when he returned four years later, the couple resumed their relationship. Tammy married David and relocated to Macon, Georgia.
However, they struggled to keep up with spending, according to the show.
David was allegedly aggressive, according to Tammy’s sister, and the pair ended up living in their car. Tammy called her mum for aid when she found out she was pregnant.
Tammy moved back in with her mother about 10 months after the wedding, and David had allegedly abandoned them after travelling to Pearl, according to the episode.
Tammy reconnected with an old school acquaintance, Randy Walker, while she was there and gave birth to her son in May 1993.
The investigators didn’t have to look long for the gunman because David, who was 22 at the time, had surrendered to police in Jackson, Mississippi.
Tammy filed for divorce in May 1993, shortly after the birth of her son, and David received the paperwork in June.
On July 1, 1993, he leased a car and purchased a pistol in Macon, Georgia, and drove the nine-hour trek to Pearl.
Then, when Tammy departed with Randy, David parked outside her mother’s house and followed her.
The next day, he knocked on Randy’s front door and forced himself in with a gun. Tammy and the baby were at the trailer at the time because Randy had invited them to a picnic. Tammy and Randy were both shot by David, and the infant was covered in blood.
Randy miraculously lived since the bullet missed his brain. He regained consciousness after about 20 minutes and was able to call 911 after getting the house phone to work. Unfortunately, David had previously yanked it out.
What Has Happened to David Glenn Gatlin and Randy Walker?
David pled guilty to murder, aggravated assault, and burglary in the end. He was sentenced to life in prison for the murder and 30 years in prison for the other counts.
Then, in 2009, David was picked as one of many inmates to work as a trusty in the Governor’s mansion.
He had to wait tables and help around the estate, among other things. Haley Barbour, the then-Governor of Mississippi, pardoned David and many other inmates in January 2012, generating a great outrage.
Many others thought Haley’s pardoning of those in prison for killing their partners conveyed the incorrect message to domestic violence survivors.
Following his release, David relocated to Birmingham, Alabama, where he worked at a rehabilitation centre for addicts and felons.
“Everything stops, and you have time to reflect,” he remarked after accepting the punishment. Every night, I reassured myself, “This is my bed.”
This is something I created. I accepted full responsibility for my actions. Nobody else was to blame.” David claims that he has evolved with time and is now more concerned with assisting others.
Randy, who was fortunate enough to survive the assault, testified in David’s case. David expressed his displeasure when the Supreme Court upheld his pardon.
“The Supreme Court weighed in, and they weighed in on the wrong side of the issue,” Randy explained.
I believe they did what was politically expedient rather than what was right for Mississippians.”
He appears to still reside in Mississippi, and on the show, he stated that David’s release was harmful to him and his family.
Randy went on to say that if David were near him, he would do whatever he could to protect himself.