Local News

Church Remembers Slain Deacon; Teen Faces Charges

Posted January 13, 2008 9:10 p.m. EST
Updated January 14, 2008 10:02 a.m. EST

— Members of the Old Liberty Missionary Church in Louisburg expressed relief Sunday that an arrest had been made in the murder of a beloved church deacon.

“We've been trying to heal, but it has been so hard,” church member Esther Perry said.

Latrell Cyrell Latham of 4908 N. New Hope Road, was charged Thursday afternoon in the Oct. 23 death of Richard Gus Brown, 74.

Brown was shot and killed as he checked his mail on Wallingford Drive in Raleigh after returning from a meeting at the church. Latham, 16, was a 9th grader at Millbrook High School until dropping out.

”That was probably the most unbelievable part of the entire case,” said Dr. Charles Murrill, senior pastor at Old Liberty Missionary Church.

“He's just a kid. His life is ruined forever,” Perry said.

Latham lived less than two blocks away from where Brown was shot. He had been arrested Nov. 13 on an unrelated armed robbery charge and was already in jail when police charged him in Brown's death.

“At least there's someone that we can forgive, that we can pray for, and certainly we're concerned for their family as much as we're concerned about our church family,” Murrill said.

Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue said information collected in the case led investigators to Latham, but he would not comment on what that information was or on a motive, saying the investigation was ongoing.

Murrill said what happened to Brown has been a test of faith and forgiveness for the church congregation.

“We have to practice what we preach,” he said.

Latham remains in the Wake County jail. He was denied bond at his first court appearance. His is scheduled to be back in court on Jan. 31.