Trial for Nacogdoches man accused in baseball bat assault, robbery gets underway

Trial for Nacogdoches man accused in baseball bat assault, robbery gets underway
Source: KTRE
Source: KTRE

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The jury trial for a Nacogdoches man who is accused of using a baseball bat to beat and rob another person in May 2016 while the victim was biking to work started Monday.

Vincent Latham, 49, of Nacogdoches, appeared before Judge Campbell Cox in the 125th District Court facing a first-degree felony aggravated robbery. 
The state called Scotty Rodham, the victim of the alleged aggravated robbery, to the stand. Rodham told the jury that he befriended Latham when he was living at Godtel Ministries and worked for Pilgrim's Pride as a sanitation worker.

During his testimony, Rodham referred to another person who warned him that he might get robbed on his way to work riding a bicycle. As a result of the warning, for at least three weeks Rodham took an alternate and longer route to work. But on May 2, 2016, the day of the alleged aggravated robbery, he took his regular route around 11:15 p.m.

Rodham said as he rode the bike, two men approached him and knocked him off of his bike. Rodham said when he was on the ground, one of the men, which Rodham identified as Latham, began hitting him on the head and all over his body at least 20 to 30 times. At one point during the altercation, Rodham said he was able to get on his knees and that's when the second person reached inside his pants and took his cell phone and wallet.

The defense argued the times and consistency of Rodham's testimony and had him recall the event of that night as he biked to work.

The next two witnesses to take the stand were officers with the Nacogdoches Police Department. Rodham then said after he was robbed, he made his way to Martin Luther King Blvd. and stopped a car driver to call for help.

Officer Seth Stover told the jury when he got to the scene, Rodham was "bleeding profusely from the side of his head."  Officer Stover said as he learned details and a name of the suspect, to start searching the area. Stover said they were able to find the bat allegedly used to target Rodham. Moments later, another officer was able to find Latham.

In Officer Walter Tacquard's testimony, he said he took photographs at the scene and of Latham. During questioning, Tacquard said that on that night, Latham said he had just gotten off of work from Pilgrim's Pride and went his friend's house and then to a gas station to buy beer. Tacquard said after further investigation, he found that Latham's story of working the night of May 2 was not accurate.

A human resources supervisor with Pilgrim's Pride took the stand afterward and told the jury the last day of for work Latham was on April 22.

The state then called the friend Latham went to visit before buying beer. Wilfred Chumley told the jury he gave Latham $10 to buy beer. Chumley wasn't able to recall details of the night, but said he remembered seeing Latham talking to police.

The jury saw the baseball bat in question brought into court by a patrol officer and watched body-cam footage from that night.

A former evidence and property technician with the police department told the jury dried blood was found on the bat but no fingerprints saying it could possibly be because the baseball bat was found wet.

The state submitted forensic evidence reports where blood splatter matched the victims DNA.

Testimony in the trial will resume Tuesday morning.

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