Sentencing delayed for Latham, Moore

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- The sentencing hearing for Chris Latham and Wendy Moore, two of the people involved in a conspiracy to kill Latham's estranged wife, has been canceled.

However, a new filing by Latham's attorney asks the judge to operate outside -- and below -- the federal sentencing guidelines for Latham.

According to the filing by Steve Schmutz on Latham's behalf, he argues that Latham did not organize or instigate the murder-for-hire plot to kill his wife which Schmutz says is proven by the fact his client was not convicted of conspiracy.

Schmutz points to Latham's lack of criminal history and declares that he is not a threat to the community. He's not violent and has a reputation as a law-abiding citizen, Schmutz says.

"A significant sentence is not warranted," he writes.

Schmutz also finds a problem with the pre-sentencing report that enhances the obstruction of justice charges.

Schmutz includes a personal history of Latham, written by Latham. From his own birth through schooling to meeting his wife, having children and moving around the Southeast before settling in Charleston, he highlights what he has done and where he has been.

He details his work with Trident United Way, the Governor's School of Science and Mathematics, the Exchange Club, and Trident Technical College's board. He also served on the Spoleto Festival USA Foundation, he writes.

The newest filing also says Latham will address the damage done to his ex-wife during the ordeal.

"Chris Latham does not deny the trauma suffered by the victim in this case. Chris Latham will address this matter personally at sentencing," it reads, adding that he is also willing to make restitution.

Latham was convicted of using interstate commerce facilities to aid in the commission of a murder-for-hire plot. The jury could not reach a decision in the other two charges, resulting in a mistrial.

The other charges against him were dropped.

The case against Latham and his girlfriend, Wendy Moore, came undone when one of the co-conspirators was stopped in downtown Charleston on drug charges and confessed to police the reason he was in the city.

That man, Aaron Wilkinson, took a plea deal to turn on Latham, Moore, Samuel Yenawine and Rachel Palmer.

Moore was convicted on all counts against her. Yenawine hanged himself in a Georgetown County jail cell before the case went to trial. Palmer's attorneys this month filed a request to join the pretrial diversion program. And Wilkinson is serving another sentence in prison, but he was sent back to his home state of Kentucky to be near his family.

The court has one more order before it: to unseal all of the more than 450 documents in the case, most of which are sealed. U.S. Attorneys argue in the filing that the cases against all of the defendants have been resolved.

Latham faces 10 years in prison if the judge does not go for the Booker variance.