UPDATE August 7th - Former Charleston banker Latham arrested by ATF agents. Full story on the Post and Courier website.
APRIL 16 - Nancy Latham’s husband named in civil lawsuit in murder-for-hire plot
A high-profile Charleston bank executive is accused of playing a key role in an alleged plot to kill his wife so he wouldn’t have to split up the property in a divorce settlement.
Chris Latham has not been charged with a crime, but a civil complaint filed Monday in the Court of Common Pleas in Charleston alleges that he and his personal assistant masterminded an attempt to kill Nancy Latham, a state lottery commission official who is also active in the community.
Rutledge DuRant (from left), Matthew Yelverton and David Savage, lawyers for Nancy Latham, answer questions Monday outside the Charleston County Courthouse after filing a civil complaint against Chris Latham and the people allegedly involved in a murder plot.
The complaint alleges that Chris Latham and his assistant, Wendy Moore, contacted her ex-husband to come from Kentucky and kill Nancy Latham.
The complaint alleges that Moore was also Chris Latham’s lover. Nancy Latham makes the same allegation in her divorce papers.
The civil complaint will allow attorneys to obtain cellphones, computers or other electronic devices that Chris Latham and Moore might have used to communicate, attorney Matthew Yelverton said.
Nancy Latham also filed the complaint because she was outraged that the alleged plot endangered not only her but also her children, Yelverton said.
Nancy Latham has been in hiding because of the threats, according to the complaint, and is asking for a jury trial to seek unspecified damages for emotional distress.
Moore, 37, of Sullivan’s Island; her ex-husband, Samuel Arthur Yenawine, 38, of Louisville, Ky.; and Yenawine’s former cellmate, Aaron Russell Wilkinson, 39, also of Louisville, have been charged with conspiracy and travel in interstate commerce with the intent to commit murder and aiding and abetting. They also are named as defendants in the lawsuit.
Officers on Thursday searched Chris Latham’s rental house on Sullivan’s Island and have not announced any charges against him.
Charleston attorney Stephen Schmutz, who represents Chris Latham, said he had not seen the civil suit and didn’t want to comment. He also said he had nothing to add about the criminal investigation.
“There hasn’t been an allegation or a charge against my client, so there is nothing to discuss,” he said.
Schmutz added he found it interesting the media knew about the lawsuit before his client had been served.
When Moore was married to Yenawine, she owned an adult-entertainment business in Louisville called Brooke and Wendy Modeling.
After fatally stabbing a bouncer, Yenawine served 10 years in prison, where he met Wilkinson.
According to her attorney, Moore has been living with her two children at a Sullivan’s Island rental home.
The complaint alleges that Chris Latham and Moore contacted Yenawine to “murder Nancy Latham along with anyone else in her company at the time of the murder attempt.”
Wilkinson told investigators that he asked Yenawine if Wilkinson could kill Latham with somebody else in her car and Yenawine said yes, “it will look better,” according to a court affidavit.
The alleged plot to kill Nancy Latham came to light April 5 when Charleston police pulled over Wilkinson on a traffic violation and he told them he had been hired to kill Nancy Latham.
Wilkinson told investigators he was working with Yenawine. He also said Moore gave Yenawine money and promised him more when the job was done.
The complaint also alleges that Latham got “John/Jane Doe(s)” to cash checks for him to get money for the conspiracy. No other details are given. Criminal investigators have not mentioned this allegation.
Chris Latham, a Bank of America executive, is vice president of Spoleto Festival USA and on the board of directors of the Trident Technical College Foundation.
Nancy Latham of Mount Pleasant is treasurer of the S.C. Education Lottery Commission and a real-estate agent on Isle of Palms.
The divorce also dragged S.C. Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell into the battle. In court papers, Chris Latham accused Harrell of trying to influence the outcome of the divorce in his wife’s favor.
A judge found no improper attempt to influence the judiciary by either Harrell or his wife.
Cathy Harrell was to testify on Nancy Latham’s behalf in the divorce. Harrell acknowledged ordering extra security at his West Ashley house because he was concerned for the safety of his wife.