The man whose confession unraveled an alleged murder-for-hire plot targeting Nancy Latham is expected to testify for the government when the case goes to trial next month.
Prosecutors revealed during jury selection Wednesday in Charleston that Aaron Russell Wilkinson could be called as a witness for the case. What's more, Wilkinson 's name wasn't included in the list of defendants who will go to trial, a likely indication that he has reached a deal with prosecutors.
The U.S. Attorney's Office declined to comment on Wilkinson's status, and his public defender could not be reached after the proceeding.
Wilkinson exposed the alleged plot in a lengthy confession to Charleston police and federal investigators in April, setting the stage for the arrest of Latham's husband, former bank executive Chris Latham, and three other co-defendants.
Chris and Nancy Latham were going through a contentious divorce when he was accused in the alleged murder-for-hire plot against her. Wilkinson told police about the alleged plans after he was pulled over by police on Charleston's East Side while trying to buy heroin in April, according to court documents.
Indicted in addition to Wilkinson were Wendy Moore and her ex-husband, Samuel Yenawine, of Louisville, Ky. Yenawine committed suicide while in custody at the Georgetown County Detention Center in June, according to authorities.
Rachel Palmer, the other co-defendant and Yenawine's girlfriend during the alleged conspiracy, did not appear in court Wednesday after the judge allowed her to be excused due to the recent birth of her child, according to court records. Her attorney appeared for her.
Moore, who was Christopher Latham's girlfriend at the time of the alleged scheme, sat beside her attorneys. Christopher Latham also was present. Wilkinson was not in the courtroom.
Prosecutors listed dozens of potential witnesses during the proceeding, including Wilkinson and his wife, Bethany; Bank of America employees, where Chris Latham was employed; and his ex-wife, Nancy.
Chris Latham's attorney, Steve Schmutz, listed a potential 50 witnesses he could call in the trial that is expected to last about two weeks. Among the witnesses who could be called by Latham's attorneys include friends of Chris Latham, his divorce attorney, and Nancy Latham's half brother, John Hall Cannon, who Chris Latham said he was afraid of in divorce documents. Chris Latham had filed an affidavit in October stating that he was being stalked by Nancy and "her paroled murderer brother." 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 was sentenced to life in prison for the murders, but he was paroled after 12 years after the state parole board determined that he was a reformed man.
While Cannon and the others are on the list of potential witnesses for Chris Latham's case, Schmutz said he "could call all the witnesses, some of the witnesses, or none of the witnesses."
Glenn Smith contributed to this report. Reach Natalie Caula Hauff at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ncaula.
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