Two suspects plead not guilty in murder-for-hire case

By Stacy

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Two women pleaded not guilty in a high-profile murder-for-hire case in federal court Tuesday. Wendy Moore and Rachel Palmer face allegations of conspiring to kill Nancy Latham, treasurer of the S.C. Education Lottery.

Moore is incarcerated in Charleston County. Palmer is out of jail but limited to her mother's home in Kentucky.

In the midst of a bitter divorce from husband Chris, Nancy Latham entered federal court Tuesday for another hearing in the alleged murder-for-hire plot against her.

Authorities charged both Palmer and Moore with conspiracy and use of interstate commerce facilities to commit murder-for-hire and possessing a firearm to further a violent crime. Authorities additionally charged Moore with solicitation of murder for hire.

Investigators say Moore is Chris Latham's girlfriend.

"It speaks for itself. She pleaded not guilty and we're moving forward with the case. That's why we have the justice system to do that," Moore's attorney David Aylor said.

Aylor planned to take the case to trial, he said. However, while in jail, he said his client worried about her family.

"Her children, being away from them is hard and it's tough conditions for anyone in that position, but particularly for someone with no criminal history and background," Aylor said.

Nancy Latham declined to comment in court.

Palmer's attorney David Lambertus is commuting from Louisville, Ky. He did not return requests for comment.

During the hearing, Aylor was also questioned about how Moore is paying her legal fees. An official said he heard a co-defendant was providing for Aylor's services.

Aylor said family and friends are paying the bill, but did not reveal any names.

A magistrate said pre-trial motions relating to Palmer and Moore must be submitted by June 17. Judge Richard Gergel will preside over the case in federal court.