Murder-for-hire suspect Samuel Yenawine to remain in federal detention; his girlfriend Rachel Palmer named fourth suspect in case

Samuel Yenawine, 38, of Louisville, Ky., accused of being involved in the murder-for-hire plot to kill Nancy Latham. Photo is from Georgetown County jail. (Provided)


Rachel Palmer of Kentucky has been named as the fourth suspect in the murder-for-hire plot to kill real estate agent Nancy Latham of Mount Pleasant, according to federal court documents.

Palmer is the girlfriend and co-defendant of Samuel Yenawine, 38, of Louisville, who appeared briefly in federal court in Charleston this afternoon for a detention hearing.

Magistrate Judge Bristow Marchant explained that Yenawine’s Kentucky lawyer, William Butler, was not licensed to practice in South Carolina and is still trying to arrange for a Charleston attorney to take up his client’s case.

Yenawine did not object to scheduling another hearing at a later date once he has representation.

Latham, treasurer of the S.C. Education Lottery Commission, attended the hearing but did not address the court. Afterward, she said her attorney had advised her not to discuss the case at this time.

Prosecutors did not object to the judge unsealing an indictment against Yenawine that identifies Palmer as the fourth suspect arrested in the case. She was taken into custody last week in Kentucky and is now in the hands of federal authorities, according to court documents.

Yenawine was jailed in his home state after his arrest last month in connection with the alleged plot. Federal authorities transferred him to South Carolina last 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 is one of four people arrested in connection with the alleged plot to kill Latham.

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.

Reach Glenn Smith at 937-5556 or