By LAUREN SILVER Court TV
VINELAND, N.J. (Court TV) — Zachary Latham has been found not guilty in the death of William “Timmy” Durham Sr.
Latham, a social media influencer, had been accused of killing Durham, who was his neighbor, after a series of increasingly hostile videos posted online ended in the man’s death.
Latham, now 20, had faced charges of second-degree manslaughter, aggravated assault and weapons charges in the death of Durham, 51.
Latham was emancipated at 16 and enlisted in the New Jersey National Guard shortly after turning 18. The New Jersey National Guard confirmed that he “separated” from the agency in 2020, but further details were not made available. In 2020, Latham was living with his wife, Sarahi “Sarah” Latham, and his grandparents, and had gained approximately 40,000 followers on the social media platform TikTok. He would often post videos to the social media site featuring expensive cars he owned.
The posts Latham uploaded to social media showed him revving the cars’ engines in front of his home and speeding through the quiet neighborhood.
In a recorded exchange that Latham posted to TikTok, Catherine “Tiffany” Durham, a neighbor, confronted him over his speeding on April 6, 2020. Police confirmed they were called to the neighborhood, but it was unclear whether Durham called the police or whether another neighbor had complained about Latham’s car.
The video of the confrontation with Durham was Latham’s most popular video on TikTok and had more than 3 million views in days. Latham continued to engage his followers in the comments of the post, prompting some followers to drive to the neighborhood to harass Latham’s neighbors, specifically Durham.
The videos and social media posts continued to escalate, with the entire Durham family becoming involved. After the initial video of Tiffany went viral, Latham began having problems with her husband, William “Timmy” Durham Sr. and their two sons, William “Billy”, 21, and Gage, 17. In one video, Latham blames “Billy” for a confrontation, saying in a comment posted on TikTok, “Karen’s son found out the video went viral and tried taking me out of the car.”
Police said they were told that Billy was upset because his home address had been posted online.
On May 4, 2020, Police said that Latham was driving through the neighborhood when he swerved his car toward Gage, who was on a bike, with the intention of running him down. Tiffany confronted Latham, and Tiffany alleged that she was given a black eye. Latham was not charged in the incident.
The entire Durham family, allegedly unarmed, then went to Latham’s house to confront him. Detectives said that Latham emerged from his house with knives and a stun gun, as Sarah recorded the confrontation with a cellphone.
Despite the Durhams being unarmed, Latham allegedly admitted to detectives that he armed himself with a four-inch knife and a stun gun from what he perceived to be a “mob attack.”
The altercation began outside and continued into the garage, where Timmy Durham was killed.
Prosecutors said that Latham first attacked Billy and missed before stabbing Timmy in the right arm. Latham’s wife allegedly begged him to put down the knife.
Prosecutors said that Latham used the stun gun on Timmy and stabbed him multiple times, with a fatal wound puncturing his left lung.
There were several calls made to 911, from neighbors and from Latham himself. In a frantic 911 call, Latham told a dispatcher that someone “assaulted and jumped” him. He said that he was badly injured and that it was “the other victim, but I (Latham) got beat up really bad, and I have blood all over me.”
“They came on my property with guns, and then when I fought them off, they drove away. … My windpipe was crushed in, and I got stomped and kicked by like 10 people. … There’s blood all over me. I believe an open cut. There’s blood all over the garage — they came, and they had guns…and they were going to kill us…they attacked all of us.”
Responding officers reported finding Latham and his wife outside of their home with two friends. Timmy Durham was pronounced dead at the scene at 7:48 p.m.
Latham was treated at the hospital for a concussion and abrasions before he was taken into custody.
Tiffany was charged with simple assault and criminal trespass, and her sons were charged with aggravated assault trespassing.
Judge Cristen D’Arrigo noted that “this is a unique sort of case because the victims in one case are defendants in another case, where the victim, in that case, is the defendant in this case.”
Latham’s attorney, Nathan Perry, has said his client acted in self-defense, and that the Durham family was trespassing on his property. In an interview with NJ.com, Perry said, “to a very, very fair extend, the Durhams visited this great sadness upon themselves.”
Following his arrest, Latham continued to be active on social media. Prosecutors allege that Latham created a new TikTok account and continued to post about the case. A motion was filed in 2021 seeking to revoke Latham’s release because of the behavior.
Before the motion could be heard, Latham was arrested in Fort Myers, Florida, for allegedly threatening a driver.
In a report filed with Florida Highway Patrol, an officer said that Latham threatened a 17-year-old driver with a pellet gun that resembled an AK-47 assault rifle after a confrontation in which Latham allegedly tried to ram the victim’s vehicle.
Latham was charged with two counts of aggravated assault in Florida. In response, the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office appealed Latham’s pre-trial release.
Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae later dismissed the charges filed against the Durham family. At a March 28, 2023 motions hearing, assistant prosecutor Charles C.J. Wettstein was unable to explain why the charges were dropped or when the decision was made to do so.
DAILY TRIAL UPDATES
DAY 8 – 4/13/23
- The jury finds Zachary Latham not guilty of all charges
DAY 7 – 4/12/23
- The defense rests without calling any witnesses.
- The jury hears closing arguments
DAY 6 – 4/11/23
- Prosecutors conclude their presentation of evidence Tuesday.
- Jurors view a redacted version of Latham’s Interrogation Video
DAY 5 – 4/6/23
- Direct examination of Catherine “Tiffany” Durham continued Thursday
- William Durham, the oldest son of the victim, testifies he went to Latham’s home to find out why he struck a lady.
- Dylan Aristy, a friend of Zachary Latham, testified that his shoulder was dislocated when he tried to break up the fight between Latham, William Durham Sr. and William Durham Jr.
- Latham’s grandfather demanded that the Durham leave his property after seeing the end of the altercation.
DAY 4 – 4/5/23
- Catherine “Tiffany” Durham, the victim’s wife, learned while sitting on the witness stand that charges against her had been dropped. The charges were dropped on July 19, 2021, but her defense attorney never told her.
- WATCH: Victim’s Wife Learns Charges Were Dismissed While Testifying
- Durham testified that Latham hit her in the chest, and later backhanded her when she was leaving.
- Durham admitted there was no video showing the alleged assault on her son, Gage.
- Jurors heard from Detective Luis Rodrigues of the Vineland Police Department, who testified to cell phone evidence.
- Videos were accessed from Sarah Latham and Tiffany Durham.
- Rodrigues said the video shows William Durham Jr. swinging at Latham before Latham attacked with a knife.
- WATCH: Nasty Neighbor Stabbing Trial: Day 4
DAY 3 – 4/4/23
- The second day of testimony began later in the afternoon, with prosecutors calling one witness out of turn due to a scheduling conflict. Jurors heard from Dr. A. Wayne Williams, Medical Examiner for the Northern Regional Medical Examiner office in Newark, New Jersey.
- Dr. Williams examined the body of William Timothy Durham Sr. on May 5, 2020.
- It was revealed through testimony that Durham Sr. suffered three stab wounds to his right forearm, right armpit, and back center. The stab wound to Durham’s armpit was essentially the fatal wound, which pierced his lung.
- Durham’s cause of death was “sharp force injuries of the toro and right upper extremities,” and the manner of death was a “homicide.”
- Dr. Williams said, “He (Durham) suffered other bruises, contusions, and superficial wounds to both arms and legs during the melee.”
- WATCH: Nasty Neighbor Stabbing Trial: Medical Examiner Describes Injuries
DAY 2 – 3/31/23
- The victim’s son takes the stand
DAY 1 – 3/30/23
- The jury hears opening statements
Court TV producer Tiffany Smith contributed to this report.