Two women entered not guilty pleas this morning to federal allegations that they participated in a murder-for-hire plot targeting Mount Pleasant real estate agent Nancy Latham.
Wendy Annette Moore, 37, of Sullivan’s Island, and Rachel Palmer, 36, of Louisville, Ky., are among four suspects charged in connection with the scheme.
Dressed in a striped jail jumpsuit, Moore looked haggard from her time behind bars. Neither she nor Palmer, who was dressed in a blouse and street clothes, addressed the court beyond answering yes or no answers to Magistrate Judge Bristow Marchant’s questions.
Latham, treasurer of the S.C. Education Lottery Commission, attended the hearing but declined the judge’s offer to make a statement.
Moore’s attorney, David Aylor, said his client maintains her innocence and is eager to be reunited with three children, who are in the care of relatives. Moore has been locked up at the Charleston County jail without bail since her arrest last month.
Prosecutors during the proceeding questioned where Moore is getting the money to pay for her legal team, which consists of Aylor and attorney Bentley Price. Assistant U.S. Attorney Rhett DeHart said authorities were concerned the money was coming from a current or potential codefendant in the case.
Aylor did not say who was signing the checks for her legal bills, but he told the judge friends and family were supporting her defense efforts.
Palmer is out of jail. but confined to her mother’s home except for work and other necessary business. She is subject to electronic monitoring as well, her attorney, David Lambertus of Kentucky, said.
They faces charges of conspiracy to use interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder for hire, use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder for hire and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. Moore also is charged with solicitation of murder for hire.
Also charged in the plot are Louisville, Ky., residents Russell Wilkinson, 39, and Samuel Yenawine, 38. Yenawine is Moore’s ex-husband and Palmer’s boyfriend.
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 Moore — to kill her in a murder-for-hire scheme. Moore is also Chris Latham’s personal assistant at Bank of America.
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. Reach Glenn Smith at 937-5556 or Twitter.com/glennsmith5.