Armed robbery charges dropped

Published 12:23 am Wednesday, July 27, 2016

NATCHEZ — Charges against a Natchez teen accused of armed robbery were dropped Tuesday after the victims told the court he was not the person who attacked them.

Emanuel C. Latham Jr., 17, 8 Hampton Court, was booked into the Natchez City Jail on charges of two counts of armed robbery and one count of aggravated assault July 17.

He was accused in a June 13 incident on Caddo Street where a robber struck a woman on the head with a pistol before taking her purse and the cell phone and money of a man who was with her.

But at his preliminary hearing Tuesday, during which the court was to decide if the case had enough merits to bind over to the grand jury, the victims said Latham was not their attacker.

Municipal Judge Lisa Jordan Dale declined to pass the case on to the grand jury because it lacked probable cause.

“Neither of the victims identified him as a person that they saw there or that assaulted them or took any belongings of theirs,” Dale said. “Two victims testified, and he was not identified as a person being there. They testified that they had misidentified somebody who was there.”

Latham’s father, Zachary Robinson, said he was thankful that the charges were dropped.

“He was falsely accused,” he said. “All kids with the same haircut don’t look alike, and just because you hang with a person earlier that day doesn’t mean that you were with them when they were doing what they were doing.”

Two other defendants, Anthony Thompson and Frederick Hunt, have been charged in the robbery. Hunt signed a waiver to a preliminary hearing Tuesday, while Thompson appeared before the court. Both were bound over to the grand jury.

Dale said that while Latham was released in the June robbery, he is still on bond for a previous charge.

Latham is currently awaiting trial for his alleged role in a Dec. 2014 robbery turned fatal shooting of 16-year-old Jessie Taylor Jr.

At the trial of his co-defendant — Eddie Minor Jr. — Latham testified that Minor had given him a gun and instructed him to follow his lead after Taylor approached them asking to buy drugs.

Latham told the court that after robbing Taylor, Minor fired a shot at a fleeing Taylor, who in turn returned fire using a gun he was carrying. Latham said he started firing as well after a bullet passed his head.

Taylor was struck during the exchange, and died later that evening.

The trial against Minor ended in a hung jury. He will be tried again Aug. 11.

Latham’s trial in that matter is set for Aug. 17.