Lathams seek extra court safeguards in divorce case that includes accusations of threats, murder for hire
Nancy and Christopher Latham’s bitter divorce proceedings took another nasty turn this week with each seeking additional court-ordered protection from the other, alleging deceit, threats and fear for their lives.
Nancy Latham, a real estate agent and treasurer of the S.C. Education Lottery Commission, filed paperwork Monday in Charleston County Family Court accusing her estranged husband of plotting with his girlfriend to kill her in a murder-for-hire scheme. She wants a judge to keep him away from her and take away his guns.
Banker Chris Latham, who has not been charged with a crime, countered late Tuesday with allegations that he’d been targeted for harm by his wife and her half brother, a convicted triple-murderer who is out on parole. He said in an affidavit that his wife had threatened on numerous occasions to “do anything necessary to ‘destroy me’ and my career.”
Both sides strongly dispute the other’s contentions.
The couple is already subject to an October restraining order that bars them from having physical contact with each other or being at each other’s homes, as well as from harassing, threatening, interfering with or bothering the other in any way.
Timothy Madden said his client, Nancy Latham, needs additional safeguards in the wake of the failed murder-for-hire plot, saying “she is very concerned for her safety.” Madden declined to respond to the allegations in Chris Latham’s filing because he had not yet seen its contents.
Chris Latham’s divorce attorney, Robert Rosen, said his client is also fearful of his safety and would prefer to try the matter in court, rather in the media. But Rosen said he was compelled to answer the “unnecessary litigation” his wife had pursued of late.
Stephen Schmutz, a criminal defense attorney advising Chris Latham, was more blunt in his assessment.
“There are so many unfounded allegations being made by Miss Latham, all in an effort to publicly trash Chris Latham,” he said. “It’s shameful and it’s wrong.”
The couple’s already ugly divorce took a sinister turn on April 5, when Charleston police learned Nancy Latham was the intended target of a murder-for-hire plot. The information was volunteered by Russell Wilkinson, 39, of Louisville, Ky., after he and his wife, Bethany, were pulled over in downtown Charleston with a gun in their car.
Wilkinson told investigators he was hired to kill Nancy Latham and had been conspiring with Wendy Annette Moore, 37, and Moore’s ex-husband Samuel Yenawine, 38, of Louisville. All three were arrested, charged in federal court and remain behind bars.
Nancy Latham’s motion filed Monday alleges that Moore is her husband’s live-in girlfriend and that they conspired to kill her. Nancy Latham made similar allegations in a civil lawsuit she recently filed against her husband and the three defendants behind bars.
Her filing on Monday alleges Chris Latham was involved in or “at a minimum had knowledge of the plot and plan to kill” Nancy Latham and “did nothing to stop it.”
According to the protective order filing, Nancy Latham believes she was supposed to be killed before she and her husband’s scheduled divorce hearing in April. Before that hearing, Chris Latham insisted on knowing her current address, the document states.
It also states that Chris Latham, who was living on Sullivan’s Island, regularly communicated with town officials there in an effort to have Nancy Latham go to the island’s police department on certain dates and times. That information was then communicated to the hired killers, the document stated.
Nancy Latham had been fighting a trespass notice filed against her by Chris Latham, who alleged she had sneaked into his Sullivan’s Island home, according to an incident report.
The other side
Chris Latham has accused his wife of carrying on a long-term sexual relationship with a man she called 9,000 times over a five-year period, using blocked and cloaked phone numbers to conceal their affair, according to court documents.
The other side
He also filed an affidavit in October stating that he was in fear for his life because he was being stalked by his wife and “her paroled murderer brother.”
Her half brother, John Hall Cannon, was 18 years old when he was charged in 1971 with killing his mother, stepfather and 4-year-old half brother at their Columbia home during an argument over money. All three were shot to death.
Cannon, now 59, was sentenced to life in prison for the murders, but he was paroled after 12 years behind bars after the state parole board determined he was a reformed man. He walked out of prison a rich man as well, as his grandmother had left him the sole beneficiary of her $1.6 million estate, according to published reports.
In an affidavit, Chris Latham stated his wife has threatened to have Cannon “take care of me.” She has also caused a scene at the bank where he works and called employees to disparage him, his affidavit states.
During the divorce proceedings, Latham said, he has been followed, his car has been vandalized and his wife has come to his home after midnight, in violation of the restraining order.
Chris Latham also alleged that Cannon has visited an Atlanta hotel where Latham stays and asked about his whereabouts. He said his wife and Cannon also contacted Moore’s ex-husband, Matt Robinson, to conspire to “bring me down” after the divorce, the affidavit states.
“I believe (Nancy Latham) and John Hall Cannon will go to great lengths to harm me,” he stated in the document.
During a deposition in the Latham’s divorce case, Robinson was questioned about recorded statements he made to Moore about a supposed extortion plot hatched by Cannon and Nancy Latham to hurt Chris Latham. Robinson insisted in the deposition that he made the whole thing up while trying to get his wife to come clean about an affair he suspected her of having with Chris Latham.
Madden, Nancy Latham’s attorney, called the claims “a total fabrication” and said there “is not a shred of evidence” that anyone tried to harm Chris Latham. “There was never any evidence that happened,” he said.
Nancy Latham’s protective-order motion states her husband would have benefited from her death by avoiding nearly $8,000 a month in payments to her for housing, health insurance and other items. It would also have kept Bank of America, where he worked, from learning about his affair with his assistant, Moore — a strict violation of bank policy, the motion states.
The document also states that Nancy Latham fears her estranged husband because he owns handguns, rifles and possibly a shotgun, “none of which were found when law enforcement officials searched the Sullivan’s Island residence.”
The home on Brownwell Avenue was searched by federal agents on April 11. Latham had lived in the home, which he had leased, for at least a year.
Reach Natalie Caula at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ncaula. Reach Glenn Smith at 937-5556 or Twitter.com/glennsmith5.