On a cool spring day in Little Rock 18 years ago, Eugene Hulum picked up his infant son and walked out of the family's apartment with the naked child.
What happened next is seared into the memories of those who saw it and the police who arrested Hulum. But he served his prison time and probation, returning to an apparently quiet life -- until last year.
When Hulum left his apartment in March 2000 with 19-month-old Marquis Hulum, witnesses who saw the big man thought he had a doll in his hands when he began slamming it onto the surface of the parking lot.
Within minutes, maybe seconds, Marquis was dead, his head beaten to a bloody pulp.
Eugene Hulum, streaked with the baby's blood, did not let the child go, and kept walking, leaving behind a grisly mess right in front of the apartment.
"I realized he had a baby when he started dragging him and I saw blood," one witness told police. "He dragged the baby in the street from in front of his apartment and dragged the baby in circles. He picked the baby up and started kissing him. He flung the baby over his shoulder."
One man who drove past said, "The guy looked like he was mumbling to himself. He was pacing and walking in circles."
Barefoot, but dressed in blue stone-washed jeans and a blue checkered shirt, Hulum walked through the parking lot of the Oakwood Manor apartments, 6510 Mabelvale Cutoff. He carried the limp body with him, sometimes with the body slung over his shoulder.
Police arrived almost immediately after the 911 calls started coming in. The first officer to spot him reported that Hulum had the baby's body almost up under his neck, with one leg in each hand.
An officer who lived at the complex, now the Bella Vista apartments, was roused by strangers beating on his door, calling out about a dead baby. He threw on clothes and ran, catching up just in time to join the effort to apprehend Hulum in front of a home in the 6500 block of Elmore Road.
Two patrol officers first tried to coax Hulum into putting the baby down, calling out, "Sir, let us help you."
Hulum -- yelling, "Jesus is our savior" -- appeared to ignore them and kept moving. A video taken by a bystander recorded Hulum chanting in a raspy voice, "I didn't kill my child."
One of the officers stepped in front of him, baton in hand. He told Hulum to stop and give him the child. Hulum moved forward but then stopped, obviously "out of it," the officer reported.
The patrolman thought the ordeal was about to be over.
"He just suddenly stopped and glared at me. It was the first time I noticed a solid ring of blood encircling his mouth. He appeared to be calming down," the officer said.
Suddenly, Hulum, holding the child's legs, swung the baby at him. He hit the officer full in the face with Marquis' 39-pound body and knocked the man to the ground.
Hulum swung again, at least twice more, striking another officer a glancing blow with the baby. He defiantly yelled obscenities, but finally let his son go, dropping the baby "like a rag," one witness said.
Hulum punched and kicked, even after police got him into handcuffs and leg restraints, despite being pepper-sprayed and shocked with a stun gun.
The baby's body came to a rest in the front yard of an Elmore Road home.
A neighbor carried out a blanket to cover his body.
The entire incident had taken about 30 minutes
Police took Hulum to the hospital for medical treatment -- a cut on his head required stitches -- and a psychiatric evaluation. He remained combative at the hospital. Officers had to carry him into the emergency room. He had to be tied to a bed. He spit at the staff, so nurses put a mask on him.
Police found his 4-year-old daughter sitting on a couch inside the family's apartment and briefly questioned the preschooler.
"She told me that earlier the baby was crying and 'Daddy kept bumping the baby,'" according to a police report. "[She] said that her daddy took her brother to her daddy's room and kept 'bumping the baby' and then left the apartment with her brother."
Another investigator reported the girl said her daddy had gotten mad at the boy for getting out of bed and had kicked him before taking him outside.
The apartment interior was neat and clean, with no sign of any struggle. In the master bedroom, police found a used diaper and a small pile of children's clothing.
Hulum had started the day as a father of two, married for three years to a woman he'd been with for eight. He made countertops for a living and was well-liked by his employers.
He'd been home that day with his kids because he'd been off the job, and unpaid, for about two weeks, recovering from dropping a marble countertop on his right foot.
He had no criminal history, no reports of abuse or drug addiction, although he regularly smoked marijuana and seemed to be conflicted about using it. He would quit, sometimes for months, before starting to smoke again.
His wife, who'd gone to work about four hours before police were called, said he'd seemed fine the night before. But he had told her at one point, after he'd been reading the Gospel of St. Mark from the Bible, that he needed to turn his life around
His best friend had been at the house, and the men had watched TV and studied the Bible together. The friend told police that Hulum had gotten emotional.
Hulum had given him all of his marijuana because he wanted to quit smoking, the man said.
Hulum also talked about how well he understood the Bible, but also appeared to deliberately misquote Genesis 1:3, when God said, "Let there be light." Hulum substituted darkness for light, then denied it when his friend pointed it out, the man said.
Hulum was charged with capital murder, and state doctors found him competent to stand trial.
His lawyers, Bill James and Herb Wright, countered at his 2001 trial that Hulum's actions clearly showed he must have been insane. A defense psychiatrist said Hulum appeared to have been suffering from some kind of delusional episode because of bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.
Hulum, on the witness stand, suggested the prescription painkillers he had been taking for his foot injury played some role. He couldn't remember what happened the day his son died, he said. But the medications had been making him feel funny for some time, including hearing voices, he added.
Medical tests had found none of the medication in his system, according to court records.
Hulum cried at the trial when prosecutors played the videos of his fight with and arrest by police. He broke into tears again when the medical examiner detailed the injuries inflicted on his child.
Seeking a life sentence, prosecutors W.A. McCormack and Barbara Mariani offered testimony from state doctors who had determined that Hulum knew what he was doing when he killed the boy and had likely been faking mental illness after he was caught.
But jurors decided the boy's slaying was something else. They deliberated about five hours to find Hulum guilty of manslaughter, a killing committed under extreme emotional distress, and sentenced him to the maximum 10 years in prison.
His wife divorced him two years later, and he spent 5½ years in prison before being paroled to finish his sentence.
He went back to his old job and remarried in 2008, but split from his second wife after almost six years. He reportedly still regularly sees his daughter.
Hulum appeared to have returned to living quietly, with no signs of mental illness -- with one exception, a May 2013 episode when he was found naked and screaming obscenities in his front yard. Hulum was not violent, but tested positive for marijuana and spent about three days in a mental ward.
Police didn't encounter him again until January 2017, when he was arrested at his Rocco Drive home.
Last week, Hulum, now 42, returned to prison for fracturing his girlfriend's finger with a shower-curtain rod. Little Rock police found the woman injured when they arrived at Hulum's home to check on her.
When Little Rock police arrived at Hulum's home to check on the woman's welfare at a relative's request, officers found him naked on a bed in the back bedroom.
"I did what I did to keep her in line," he told the officers.
Police found Yolanda Anthony with a swollen face, bruises and cuts on both arms and swollen fists, a police report says. She told police that she'd had a seizure and fell off the toilet.
When officers questioned her later, Anthony whispered that Hulum had injured her about five hours earlier and would not let her leave the house or use the phone.
Hulum grew irate as police questioned him, they reported. He balled up his fists and jumped off the bed toward police, who used pepper spray, an electric stun gun and a baton to subdue him.
State doctors found Hulum to have a "severe" marijuana habit, paranoia and anxiety issues, with possibly antisocial personality disorder, but found no symptoms of mental illness.
Hulum accepted a four-year prison sentence on Monday for second-degree battery on Anthony, 44.
He pleaded no contest to the charge, a Class C felony that carries a maximum of 10 years in prison. He's spent the past 14½ months in jail.
Under the plea agreement negotiated by defense attorney Leslie Borgognoni, Hulum will follow his prison time with a six-year suspended sentence on the condition that he continues mental-health therapy and completes drug treatment.
Deputy prosecutor Jeanna Sherrill told Pulaski County Circuit Judge Leon Johnson that Hulum had struck Anthony on the hand with a shower-curtain rod during a late-night altercation the night before police were called.
The blows also injured Anthony's wrist, requiring that she wear a sling for some time, Sherrill said.
But prosecutors dropped related rape and kidnapping charges, which carry a potential life sentence, because Anthony has repeatedly denied she was ever held against her will or forced into sex, Sherrill told the judge.
In an October letter to the judge, Anthony wrote that Hulum "is a good man. He has been a good man to me and my children since I met him back in 2015. We love each other and just want to be together."
"Now, I sit here alone, cry myself to sleep, needing to hold my baby," the handwritten letter states. "He didn't mean to do what he did, but it won't happen again because I won't let it."
The couple's life has been "destroyed because all we wanted to do that day was 'chill,'" she wrote, blaming the charges on friends and family for being "nosy."
"All I'm asking is that you forgive him as I have and let him be free to live the lives that's meant for us," the letter concludes.
Metro on 04/22/2018
Print Headline: Death of child ghastly in 2000; Dad, once freed, is back in prison