Latham jury trial set for Monday - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Latham jury trial set for Monday

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Chris Latham after his arrest in August 2013. Chris Latham after his arrest in August 2013.

The jury trial is set to being Monday morning. On Thursday some of the final preparations took place in Federal Court in Charleston for the long awaited trial in the alleged, Latham murder for hire scheme. Prosecutors say a plan was thought up by former bank executive, Christopher Latham and his then girlfriend, Wendy Moore.

This case has had a lot of twists that includes the suicide back in June of one of the suspects, Samuel Yenawine; officials say he hanged himself inside a cell in Georgetown County.

Those on trial are Christopher Latham, Wendy Moore, Rachel Palmer and Aaron Wilkinson.

Unless sealed documents say otherwise, all of them are facing felony Murder-Racketeering charges for allegedly trying to organize the plot to kill Nancy Latham. Both Wendy Moore and Rachel Palmer Yenawine's then girlfriend both pleaded not guilty in Federal Court.

It was back in August federal agents first offered a few details in their investigation to help convince a judge to deny Latham's bond. Investigators focused and what they called the "hit packet".

Contained in the hit packet were pictures of Nancy Latham, one was very dated and included one Latham's children standing with her mother. The other photo of Nancy was from the South Carolina Education Lottery's website where Latham served as treasurer. It's a photo easily accessible with internet access. Also inside the packet were times Latham usually leaves the house, those who live in the house and the color and make of Nancy's car.

The packet also contained handwriting of the alleged suspects. Agents said through analysis investigators concluded one of the samples is no doubt Wendy Moore's. The other sample agents believe is Chris Latham's but analysts could not determine that with 100% certainty.

Wendy Moore was hired at Bank of America in April of 2011 to be Chris Latham's secretary; their offices were side by side. ATF agents say that is where most of the information in the hit packet was searched and printed, like a Google Map showing the location to Nancy Latham's home.

Agents showed subpoenaed information, in August of last year, gathered from B of A servers' indicating a lot of the stuff like Nancy's lottery photo was quarried and printed from Wendy Moore's office equipment. Agents say there were searches on Latham's work computer as well, the evidence they presented included a Google Map search of the Music Farm.

Agents say the Music Farm map was dragged to show the areas that were included in the hit package. Agents say he also searched the name of an 18-year old male staying in the home Nancy and the children lived in. Nancy said in court on Monday he is a family friend and he was staying there because his family member fell ill.

Investigators also say after searching Chris Latham's I-Phone they found a photo of Nancy's home that included the male guest's vehicle in the driveway. Agents said the photo is evidence showing Chris was compiling information to help with the plot, although that specific photo was not in the hit packet.

ATF Agents say on April 1st, 2013 information from B of A shows both Chris and Wendy were in and out of work at the bank, once arriving about a minute apart. On that day agents say Wendy Moore, Latham's live in love interest searched Hotels in North Charleston and then left work to rent a room at the Econo-Lodge, where her former husband Samuel Yenawine and his former cell mate Aaron Wilkinson would to stay after arriving from Kentucky. Agents say they were hired to carry out the hit.

Agents also say she purchased a drop phone from a Mount Pleasant Rite-Aid and Yenawine purchased one from a Summerville Wal-Mart. The two begin calling one another to shepherd the process along. The three later met on Sullivan's Island on April 5th where Wendy gave them $5,000.

After that the hit fell apart after Yenawine feared others in Kentucky would spend all the payment money Wilkinson deposited into a bank in North Charleston.  Yenawine returned to Kentucky and a few days later it totally unraveled when Wilkinson came clean about the alleged plot after getting pulled over by the Charleston Police Department.

Officials claim Wilkinson gave them the hit packet from the room at the Econo-Lodge. They also say after he confessed to the alleged plot, investigators monitored a call from Wilkinson to Yenawine in Kentucky.

Wilkinson asked Yenawine where he could find Wendy and what to do with the gun. Agents said the two eventually agreed to throw it in the water somewhere in the Charleston area.

Chris Latham's Attorney Steve Schmutz questioned the agent on the stand saying they have a hard time proving if Latham was even in his office while the searches and printing of the hit packet were going on.

 Schmutz also asked agents in August, from what was offered as evidence presented so far, is Wendy Moore, Samuel Yenawine and Chris Latham all three connected together at any point? The ATF agent replied "No."

Chris Latham's Attorney Steve Shcmutz believes two intense and emotional events happened too close together. Evidence from a very public and emotional divorce is mistakenly woven into a murder for hire plot.

"It's been a sensational divorce case going on for couple of years now, as is I said in there, some of it bleeds into this case."

The trial will be held at the Federal Court House in Charleston beginning at 10am.

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