Kentucky suspect charged in Charleston murder-for-hire plot due in federal court here Monday
A Kentucky inmate has been transferred to South Carolina to face federal charges in an alleged murder-for-hire plot to kill real estate agent Nancy Latham of Mount Pleasant.
Samuel Yenawine, 38, of Louisville, was jailed in his home state after his arrest last month in connection with the alleged plot. Federal authorities transferred him to South Carolina this week, and he is being held in the Georgetown County jail, according to court records.
He faces charges of conspiracy to use interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder for hire, solicitation of murder for hire, use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder for hire, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.
Yenawine entered a not guilty plea during a brief appearance Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Charleston. A formal detention hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Monday in Charleston, court records show.
Yenawine is one of three people arrested in connection with the alleged plot to kill Latham, treasurer of the S.C. Education Lottery Commission. A heavily redacted indictment filed in the case this week indicates there is a fourth defendant as well.
That person’s name is blacked out on the indictment, and his or her identity cannot be revealed until the document is unsealed at Yenawine’s detention hearing, said Beth Drake, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Yenawine has not yet been assigned a local lawyer. His attorney in Kentucky, Bill Butler, did not respond to a call for comment Friday.
Nancy Latham is in the midst of a bitter divorce from her estranged husband, Chris Latham, a Bank of America executive who is vice president of Spoleto Festival USA and a board member of the Trident Technical College Foundation.
In motions in the divorce case and in a separate civil lawsuit, she has accused her husband of plotting with his live-in girlfriend — identified as 37-year-old Wendy Annette Moore — to kill her in a murder-for-hire scheme.
Chris Latham’s attorneys have denied those allegations, and he has not been charged with a crime. In court motions, they have insisted that he is in fear for his life because he has allegedly been targeted for harm by his wife and her half brother, a convicted triple-murderer who is out on parole.
Moore, who moved to the Charleston area from Kentucky, is Chris Latham’s personal assistant and Yenawine’s ex-wife. Also arrested in the case was Russell Wilkinson, 39, of Louisville. Wilkinson revealed details of the alleged plot after he was pulled over by Charleston police on April 5 and found to have a pistol and ammunition inside his car, police said.
Wilkinson has told The Post and Courier that he and his wife were looking to buy heroin at the time and had no intention of going through with the contract killing, which he said Yenawine had pushed him to carry out.
Yenawine continues to maintain his innocence.
He served 10 years in prison after being convicted of burning down an apartment where a bouncer was stabbed to death. The bouncer worked for an adult entertainment business Moore owned called Brooke and Wendy Modeling.
Reach Glenn Smith at 937-5556 or Twitter.com/glennsmith5.