MILWAUKEE -- The judge said it was one of the most cold-blooded murders he's ever seen. The killer would not even admit he did it. After eight years in the justice system, Robert Tatum has received a final sentence. Tatum will spend two life terms behind bars with no chance for parole.
Tatum would not quit during his second trial. He would not quit arguing, even though the judge told him to -- and he would not quit saying he was not guilty.
The killer acted as his own lawyer. Tatum was successful in getting a prior conviction overturned by an appeals court because he, at first, was not allowed to represent himself. A second jury convicted him of two murders in February.
Tatum killed his two roommates, Rahim Abdella and Kyle Ippoliti, in 2010 in a Riverwest rooming house. They were kicking him out for not paying rent.
Milwaukee County Judge Mark Sanders: "You literally blew their brains out."
Robert Tatum: "That's not what the evidence shows."
Judge Sanders: "It is not your turn to talk. You have had your opportunity. It is now your turn to listen."
Robert Tatum: "I don't feel I made a mistake. I don't believe I made a mistake. I personally believe the state has not allowed me to prove my innocence."
Judge Sanders: "You killed two people with a shotgun. You did this."
Robert Tatum: "You believe I did."
The sentencing Wednesday, May 9 came after Tatum tried to show a conspiracy against him.
Judge Sanders: "You attribute to the state corruption. You attribute to the court reporters on the previous trial corruption. You attribute to the police officers corruption."
Robert Tatum: "I put in evidence to prove that. In my opinion I submitted evidence to prove all that."
Judge Sanders: "Mr. Tatum, you attribute to the police officers investigating corruption, you attribute to the previous judge corruption, you attribute to me corruption, all of this. All of that is evidence of your self-absorption."
The judge sentenced Tatum to two life terms to be served one right after the other, without any possibility of parole.
"I don't think you are unredeemable. I just think you need to be in prison," Judge Sanders said.
After nearly eight years in the courts, two trials and two jury convictions, Robert Tatum plans to appeal.