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Latham asks to access cell phone in terror threat case

  • Toby L. Latham

    Toby L. Latham
    RCSO Photo

By Pete Spitler
updated: 11/13/2017 12:15 PM

Appearing in Randolph County court for an attorney status hearing on Monday, Toby L. Latham asked to access his cell phone to retrieve money from his retirement account to pay for an attorney to represent him in his terror threat case.

The 40-year-old Latham, of Chester, is charged with falsely making a terrorist threat, a Class 1 felony with a punishment range of four to 15 years in prison if convicted. The charge is a result of a series of Facebook posts Latham is accused of making that state Latham had guns and bombs in his George Street apartment.

He allegedly threatened to kill people if his demands were not met, demanded to have a police negotiator present and taunted police and people he knows. The eight-hour standoff between himself and police was finally resolved peacefully when Latham was taken into custody at 7:44 a.m. on Nov. 6.

During the hearing, Latham told Judge Richard A. Brown the only funds he had available were in his retirement account, which he couldn't access without an authentication code sent to his phone.

Randolph County State's Attorney Jeremy Walker strongly objected to allowing Latham access to his phone, which has been seized by police as evidence, using the analogy of if someone shot somebody with a gun and then was allowed to have the gun.

"I'm completely opposed to letting him have a piece of evidence," Walker said. "He could open it up and in one button delete everything."

Walker later said he couldn't believe Latham had any other way to access his account other than a text message.

"If his phone is dumped by this choice of action, there's no remedy for the State," he said.

Latham told Brown his cell phone is needed for dual authentication due to security issues and any other disposable income he has has been used for bill payment.

Brown asked if there was another way Latham could get money for an attorney.

"My family is trying to do everything they can," Latham said.

After taking a few minutes to consider the arguments, Brown assigned public defender James Kelley to Latham's case. Brown explained his reasoning behind the decision.

"My concern is we don't know when, if ever, you're going to get this money to have a lawyer," he said.

Latham, who is incarcerated at Randolph County Jail on a $100,000 bond with 10 percent applied, is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Thursday, November 30, at 10 a.m.