Teen held in death of deacon

He faces murder charge in shooting

Staff WriterJanuary 11, 2008 

— Police arrested a 16-year-old Thursday in the shooting death of an elderly church deacon who was gunned down, apparently at random, as he stood near his mailbox three months ago.

Latrell Cyrell Latham of 4908-N New Hope Road was taken into custody without incident Thursday afternoon, police spokesman Jim Sughrue said in a news release. Latham was charged with murder.

Latham is listed as a Millbrook High School student on an arrest warrant filed Thursday at the Wake County Magistrate's Office.

He is accused of killing Richard Gus Brown, 74, on the evening of Oct. 23. Brown was on his way to his apartment at The Tapers off New Hope Road when he stopped at the mailbox and was shot several times.

Brown was a church deacon and senior Sunday school teacher. Police said at the time that they were exploring the possibility that Brown's killer had also robbed him.

Latham and Brown lived within half a mile of each other.

Police did not immediately release details about what led them to Latham or describe the circumstances of the arrest. Sughrue declined to discuss a motive for the fatal shooting, which he described as "random."

Police charged Latham, a native of Norfolk, Va., with common-law robbery nearly a month after Brown was found shot to death, court records show.

Police think the teenager and his sister, Monique Latham, 17, forcibly rifled through the pockets of another youth on Nov. 12, before going through a book bag the youth was carrying and taking two video games and an MP3 player, court records show.

Monique Latham was released from the Wake County jail after a judge placed her in the custody of her parents, court records show.

Latrell Latham remained at the Wake County jail on the common-law robbery charge even after Charles F. Caldwell, the Wake County assistant public defender, asked on Nov. 19 to have his bail reduced from $100,000 to $25,000. He was never released, a jail spokesman said Thursday night.

The teen remains in jail without bail on the murder charge, court records show.

thomasi.mcdonald@newsobserver.com or (919) 829-4533

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