Mistrial declared in Nacogdoches aggravated robbery trial

Mistrial declared in Nacogdoches aggravated robbery trial
Vincent Latham (Source: Nacogdoches County Jail)
Vincent Latham (Source: Nacogdoches County Jail)

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A mistrial has been declared in the trial of Vincent Latham accused of using a baseball bat to beat and rob another person in May of 2016.

The jury began deliberating at around 2:15 P.M. The head juror said additional time to deliberate will not change the outcome, and that the jury was unable to reach a unanimous agreement.

During the second day of the jury trial, jurors heard testimony from a witness who said he used a stolen credit card to purchase items for Vincent Latham.

The jury trial for Latham, 49, is being held in Judge Campbell Cox's 125th Judicial District Court in Nacogdoches. He's on trial for first-degree felony aggravated assault.

On Tuesday, jurors heard testimony from a man who used a stolen credit card at numerous locations to purchase items on behalf of Latham.

The witness said Latham asked him to buy a cell phone and several accessories along with food and alcohol between 2 and 3 a.m. on May 3, 2016. Afterward, the witness told the jury he and Latham parted ways, but he was eventually arrested in connection for using the stolen credit card.

The witness said when detectives asked him to pick out Latham in a photo line-up, he was unable to identify Latham because he was not in the right state of mind, adding he was "also high."

The second person to take the stand was the man who warned the victim of the robbery. Jurors heard from the man who said few weeks prior to May 2, 2016, he and Latham hid in the bushes to learn the victim's schedule when he went to work.

The man said he later went to meet the victim at Godtel to warn him. He told the jury he had a change of heart and felt he needed to alert the victim. In addition, the witness said he also alerted deputies at the Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Office.

During the alleged beating on May 2, 2016, the man said he was in the county jail facing other charges. The defense asked the witness if he told the victim specifically that Latham was the person who would follow through with the robbery, and the witness said, "Yes, I think I did."

Later, the defense called a detective to the stand after the jurors were asked to leave the room. The detective told Cox about interviewing a woman who heard that two men were going to rob someone. He also said the woman named two people, and neither of them was Latham.

Another detective spoke to the judge about the challenges of bringing the woman to court to testify.

In closing arguments, Gene Caldwell, Lathan's defense attorney, challenged the portion of the victim's testimony where he told an officer that he could not give a description other than it was two men, and one of them had on a black hoodie and Latham's hoodie was green.

Caldwell said the timeline of the events unfolding that night when the 911 call came in at 11:27 p.m. could not have placed Latham at the park where the victim was beaten because he was buying beer at a gas station, which was at least half a mile away Latham's friend told an officer.

The defense attorney argued that when Latham was questioned by officers, they didn't find any blood on him. Then Caldwell pointed out photographic evidence where the victim had a great deal of blood on his person, and there was a trail of blood on the ground.

Caldwell told the jury Latham could not possibly have had the time to clean up before being stopped by officers for questioning. He added the officers said they could not find any blood evidence on Latham's clothes.

The state pushed back in closing arguments saying all evidence points the finger at Latham He referenced numerous testimonies, including the witness, who later warned the victim that Latham planned to rob him. The state said it was no coincidence the witness knew the exact location and time of the route the victim took as he headed to work and told the jury Latham was stalking his prey.

The state told the jury we don't know how long the victim may have laid on the grass before getting up to call for help. Arguing the time of events, the state said Latham had a profit from the robbery and posed a question about Latham's motivation to lie that he was at work the night of May 2.

On Monday, the alleged victim took the stand. Scotty Rodham said after he was warned that he might get robbed while he was riding his bike to work, he took an alternate and longer route to Pilgrim's Pride for about three weeks. However, on May 2, 2016, Rodham took his regular route to work at about 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, whom Rodham identified as Latham, began hitting him on the head and all over his body at least 20 to 30 times, using a bat. 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.

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