Target of alleged murder-for-hire plot testifies in case against ex-husband
The target of an alleged murder-for-hire plot prosecutors say was ordered by her estranged husband and his girlfriend, took the stand Friday in their federal trial in Charleston.
Nancy Cannon, 47, testified in the case against her ex-husband, Chris Latham, 51, and 37-year-old Wendy Moore. The Lathams were in the middle of a contentious divorce at the time the alleged hit was supposed to take place, in April 2013.
Cannon choked back tears several times when identifying photos and information found in a "hit package" provided to the men hired to kill her, according to prosecutors, which included her photograph, details about her and her family, and maps to her Mount Pleasant home.
Cannon also identified two photographs taken without her knowledge, she said, by Latham. A printed version of one of the photographs was found in the hit package, according to testimony.
Also charged in this case are Aaron Wilkinson, 40, and Samuel Yenawine, 38, both of Louisville, Ky. Yenawine committed suicide while jailed last year.
Wilkinson testified earlier in the week about the alleged scheme. He pleaded guilty last month to aiding and abetting murder-for-hire and agreed to testify for the prosecution.
He told the jury Yenawine, who he met in prison, asked him to accompany him on a trip to Tennessee to buy drugs. While the pair were on the road, Yenawine changed his story and told Wilkinson he was going to kill someone involved in a mob case, and he needed him to watch his back, according to Wilkinson.
Wilkinson later figured out the target was Nancy Cannon Latham, and Yenawine had been hired by Moore and Nancy's husband, according to his testimony. But Yenawine's mission became complicated and they returned to Kentucky, Wilkinson said.
Out of fear of Yenawine and as a ruse, Wilkinson, who said he had no intention of actually killing her, said he would go back to Charleston and do it himself, and he took his wife. When the couple arrived in Charleston, they spent time drinking vodka and shooting up heroin, Wilkinson said.
Wilkinson alerted police about the alleged murder plot after being arrested on the East Side. He and his wife, Bethany, who is not charged in this case, were pulled over by police in April. Wilkinson later told authorities he was buying heroin.
During his testimony, defense attorneys asked him how he, being unfamiliar with the area, knew where to buy heroin.
"I Googled where to buy heroin in Charleston, South Carolina, and it said on America Street," Wilkinson said.
After being arrested by police, he told them about the alleged hit on Nancy Latham's life.
Moore's attorney, David Aylor, and Chris Latham's attorney, Kate Schmutz, asked Wilkinson about conflicting statements he has made. Several times Wilkinson explained he had either misspoke, couldn't recall because he was under the influence of drugs at the time, or the report or transcript had been reported incorrectly.
When questioning Wilkinson, who had earlier said he had ultimately decided to plead guilty because of Nancy Latham, Schmutz questioned his motive.
"If you will serve up the husband she hates, then you can walk out?" Schmutz said.
Wilkinson faces up to 10 years in prison once he is sentenced by a judge.
Nancy Cannon's testimony is expected to continue Tuesday, since court is closed Monday for the President's Day holiday.
Reach Natalie Caula Hauff at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ncaula.