Divorce attorney alleges pair of affairs in murder-for-hire trial
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - Amid a building evacuation for abomb threat, defense attorneys tried to disprove testimony jurors had heardover the last two weeks, including issues with computer security and attacks atboth the prosecution's star witness and the target of the alleged murder plot.
Court began again Monday morning with the testimony of acomputer forensics expert who testified that Bank of America's securitycontrols are not as secure as they led jurors to believe in earlier testimony.
The expert said that a lack of multiple tiers ofauthentication makes it impossible to see who has access to the system, onlythat certain credentials are being used.
He also went on to say that of all of the devices collectedand added into evidence, none had been wiped clean of information. Some of thedevices had information deleted, but it was recoverable. If the computers orphones had been truly wiped of all data, nothing would be found, he said.
However, the expert did concede that information in theprint logs that the jury has seen over the last two weeks does match up toinformation found on documents in the hit package - that link allegedco-conspirator Wendy Moore's computer, printer, and credentials to informationin the hit package.
The jury also heard from Kentucky attorney, Trevor Smith,who said despite testimony, Beth Wilkinson never consulted with him in Aprilbefore she and her current husband, Aaron Wilkinson, were arrested in downtownCharleston trying to buy heroin.
Smith, who is also Beth Wilkinson's ex-husband, said he hadalso never offered legal advice to the couple. Aaron Wilkinson testified thathis wife called Smith before their arrest when they were on their way back toCharleston, asking for advice on how to get out from under Samuel Yenawine'sthreats.
According to Aaron Wilkinson, Smith told Beth Wilkinson tocall the FBI. She never did, though.
Aaron Wilkinson has pinned the entire plot to kill NancyLatham on Yenawine, who hanged himself in a Georgetown jail cell.
Smith did say that the Wilkinsons forwarded a text messagefrom Yenawine to him that threatened to "fu** you up" if Aaron Wilkinson didnot follow through with the plan.
Smith also said details of Aaron Wilkinson's drug habit andcriminal past were kept from him, but he did think Beth Wilkinson's call forhelp after they were arrested was drug-related.
After Smith finished his testimony, attorneys for ChrisLatham called divorce attorney Robert Rosen to the stand to discuss the detailsof the often-heated proceedings between the Lathams.
Rosen said when Mr. Latham first sought his counsel as aclient, he was paying out $5,500 per month in alimony and child support to hisex-wife and he wanted to cut back the payments because, according to Mr.Latham, his ex-wife had been cheating with another man.
According to Rosen, during his investigation they foundsolid evidence linking Mrs. Latham to a lesbian affair in 2007 - that Mr.Latham forgave - and a 2011 affair with a man with whom she worked briefly.
As was discussed in earlier testimony, alimony and childsupport fueled the feud between the Lathams.
Rosen said that even if Mrs. Latham admitted to having anaffair, she still would have picked up half of the couple's joint propertyassets valued at $4 million.
But Rosen and Mr. Latham were working to shut off thealimony by proving she was cheating. According to Rosen, because of Mr. Latham'spay structure, he was concerned that his base salary would not be able to coverthe alimony and child support.
That would mean more courtroom drama for the splittingcouple.
Rosen told the court that even though records show Mr. Lathammade $650,000 at the time he was dropped from the Bank of America payroll, alot of that money came from quarterly and annual bonuses.
Rosen also answered a pair of questions left open-ended fromearlier testimony about text message Mr. Latham was sending during the trespasshearing on Sullivan's Island and the gold Toyota sedan he was seen driving.
Mrs. Latham testified that she watched her ex-husband textsomeone and eavesdrop on her and her attorney all through the trespass hearingon Sullivan's Island; she assumed it was Moore and Yenawine because ofinformation she later saw in the hit package.
However, Rosen said he was talking to Mr. Latham during thathearing.
Late last week, one of Mr. Latham's former coworkers saidMr. Latham asked him to meet him at Hay Tire in West Ashley where Mr. Lathamhad dropped off a gold Toyota Corolla. The coworker also took Mr. Latham backto the repair shop to pick up the car.
Rosen on Monday said that car belonged to Mr. Latham'smother; he was driving it because he thought someone had been following himwhen he drove his regular car, a Lexus.
The court also heard from Andrea Moore, the realtor whohelped the Lathams sell $4 million in assets to split in the divorce. She toldthe jury that she only dealt with Mr. Moore, but any time she called or textedhim, within minutes, Mrs. Moore would call her with questions.
She called it "uncanny."
Andrea Moore said she always felt like someone was listeningin to their phone calls or reading their text messages because of the timing ofMrs. Latham's calls. Moore also said there were things asked about the pendingdeal that were impossible for Mrs. Latham to know.
Mr. Latham's attorneys also brought in a handwriting expertto discount the State Law Enforcement Division's expert who, on a third andfinal report, declared it inconclusive whether Mr. Latham's writing was presentin the hit package.
Retired FBI agent John Paulsick said after studying writingsamples from Mr. Latham's daily correspondence and items found in the hitpackage, he was able to exclude Mr. Latham from the hit package.
He also said the initial SLED reports were troubling thatimplicated Mr. Latham and the third report that came up with inconclusiveresults. However, he never saw Aaron Wilkinson's handwriting.
A SLED expert testified last week that writing samples ofMr. Wilkinson and Mr. Latham had enough similarities and dissimilarities thatdefinitive results could not be reached.
The court also heard from a fingerprint expert from Londonhired by Mr. Latham's attorneys who said there were several reasons why Moore'sfingerprints would not be on the hit package if she had handled it: she washesher hands often; her hands do not secrete; she's a brick-layer; or she didsomething to bleach the paper. He called that a difficult process.
The fingerprint expert said fingerprints cannot be rubbedoff paper; it has to be bleached or burned.
The expert did not comment on the use of gloves and whetherthat would prevent hand oils from getting onto the paper. He did say Moore wastested Monday morning. That test revealed that her hands do secrete naturaloils.
The trial resumes Tuesday morning.
It is unclear how many witnesses are left for the defense.Moore has already made it known to the court that she will not testify.
Mr. Latham has not rejected his opportunity to testify, buthe is not expected to.