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Teen Charged in Deacon's Death Moved Recently, Dropped Out of School

Posted January 11, 2008

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— A ninth-grader appeared every bit as young as his 16 years when he made his first court appearance Friday to face charges that he shot and killed a church deacon who was checking his mail outside his apartment.

The youth of the accused killer has raised questions about what led to the Oct. 23 slaying of Richard Gus Brown, 74, outside his Wallingford Drive apartment.

Latrell Latham, of 4908 N. New Hope Road, attended ninth grade at Millbrook High School, but only briefly. Wake County Public School System records show that he left school Nov. 7.

Millbrook Principal Dana King said Latham moved to Wake County from Virginia and enrolled in October. He dropped out of school within five weeks.

Investigators into Brown's death later found Latham in the Wake County Jail. Latham had been arrested for an unrelated strong armed robbery charge committed on Nov. 13, less than a week after he left school.

Many Millbrook students could not recall Latham. Those who could said he was quiet.

"He didn't have a bad feeling around him or nothing like that," Millbrook senior Chris Williams said.

Neighbors agreed that Latham did not seem like the type of teenager who would get into so much trouble.

"I was like, 'Murder? I don't believe that,'" one neighbor said.

Latham lived less than a quarter-mile from the spot where police allege he killed Brown, officers said.

Brown's widow, Evelyn Brown, said she was glad someone was behind bars for killing her husband.

Latham's family members said they were still in shock over the teen's arrest. He was being held at the Wake County Jail without bond on Friday evening.

Although Latham faces one charge of first-degree murder, police said the case of Brown's death was still not closed. They have not released what information led them to charge Latham or what motive they suspect.

"There's more investigation under way, and we're continuing to solicit information in this case," Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue said.

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  • UPTOP Jan 13, 2008

    UNLESS I'M MISSING SOMETHING! WHEN DID THIS BECOME A BLACK AND WHITE THING? A YOUNG BLACK MALE, MURDERED AN OLDER, RESPECTED BLACK MALE !! THAT'S THAT !! NO NEED FOR EXTRA . IT IS WHAT IT IS...

  • mramorak Jan 12, 2008

    ditto nc1 i agree

  • Karmageddon Jan 12, 2008

    He's only 16 so by the time he's 20 he'll be back on the streets and most likely with his record wiped clean. Comforting thought, isn't it?

  • Right_N_Exact Jan 12, 2008

    Why do some white people have a love affair with Jesse and Al?? I swear everytime something happens involving a black person ya'll drag up those two. This guy is obviously guilty of the crime and he'll be punished so let the Jesse and Al thing go.

  • lovecarolinagutters Jan 12, 2008

    FYI...Polk youth center is for inmates 18 to 21. He will most likely go to booneville, if convicted.

  • abagaylesbooks Jan 12, 2008

    I agree "I Love The News" ... two lives ruined. One that I am sure valued his life and the other that probably could care less. I don't think I will ever understand how so many of the youth today just don't value life, theirs and the lives of others. It is also sad how every time a crime is committed today it turns into an Al, Jessie, NAACP thing. When will that song play out? But it doesn't surprise me... the 60's hit song was Kennedy, King, Black Panthers and the KKK. Ahhh... the day of the records. I believe the flip side of that record was "We must always blame somebody".

  • bomanicous Jan 12, 2008

    PURE EVIL!!! I hope the deacons family can find closure and comfort.

  • UPTOP Jan 12, 2008

    SOME ONE SO YOUNG, HASN'T EVEN BEGAN TO LIVE LIFE YET !!!WHAT HAPPENED TO THE GOOD OLD DAY'S WHEN TEENAGERS ENJOYED BEING A TEENAGER ???? THE ONLY CONCERNS THEY HAD WAS WHICH GIRL TO TAKE TO THE PROM !!!

  • WilloWSnapper Jan 12, 2008

    RKBA,lol that was great. this kid is scum, he shot someone while the man was checking his mail

  • homer s Jan 11, 2008

    he dropped out? really? guess he picked a career as a criminal.

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