CHEYENNE – A man who was accused of endangering his 5-year-old daughter and trying to disarm a peace officer was found guilty Wednesday afternoon in Laramie County District Court.
Nigel Latham was originally charged with disarming a peace officer, child endangering and unlawful contact. He was found guilty of disarming a peace officer and child endangering, and not guilty of unlawful contact.
The jury deliberated Wednesday starting at around noon for about two-and-a-half hours.
During closing arguments, prosecuting attorney Caitlin Harper said the defense wanted the jury to believe that nothing happened. She asked the jury why they would be sitting in a jury box if nothing happened.
She told the jury that if nothing happened, then why did Latham go to the hospital with a red mouth and raw tongue that looked like it had chemical burns from drinking Krud Kutter? She also said if nothing happened, why was Latham put in a wrap, a type of restraint, to keep him from hurting himself or others?
All of these events do not add up to nothing happening, she said.
However, defense attorney Brian Quinn told the jury he was frustrated because he never said nothing happened. He told the jury that clearly something happened.
But he said Latham was an innocent man and committed no crime. He said he doesn’t understand how Latham was tackled by a police officer when he was walking back toward his residence, and how this ended with Latham allegedly attacking the officer.
The jury has a duty to hold the state to a high standard in order to prove a verdict of guilty beyond a reasonable doubt or not guilty as the only appropriate verdict, he said.
He also questioned why the officer’s service weapon wasn’t examined for Latham’s fingerprints or blood. Latham is reported to have had bloody hands during the altercation with officers, and if he tried to grab the officer’s gun, it should have been taken as a piece of evidence.
He said the fact the service weapon wasn’t taken as evidence because the officer needed it for his work was “malarkey,” since the Cheyenne Police Department must have had another service weapon that could have been given to the officer.
In her rebuttal, Harper said the jury was shown plenty of evidence for a guilty verdict based on all of the witness testimony they heard. She said, ultimately, the case is about chaos and a struggle for control.
According to court documents:
On March 4, 2018, the mother of Latham’s child went to pick up their 5-year-old daughter per a verbal custody arrangement. Latham had the door barricaded, and Latham’s mother had to let the woman inside.
Officers later arrived on scene to do a welfare check on the daughter, and a relative of Latham’s said “he’s going to fight.”
Officers observed Latham drinking from a bottle of cleaning fluid called Krud Kutter, and when approached by officers, they got into a fight. During the altercation, Latham tried to grab an officer’s gun out of its holster.
The maximum penalties for both disarming a police officer and child endangering are five years in prison. Sentencing will take place after a pre-sentence investigation is completed.