Suspect in killing for ‘TikTok fame’ launched from jail after Lee County arrest
An 18-year-old man accused of killing a man in New Jersey, who was arrested in Lee County on Sunday, is in custody.
According to investigators, Zachary Latham has seen violence in the past and was even accused of stabbing a neighbor in New Jersey last year because prosecutors claimed he tried to become famous on TikTok.
Latham was arrested late Sunday in South Lee County after threatening a teenager and attempting to ram into the teenager’s car. Latham was released from Lee County Jail Monday afternoon and was given $ 40,000 bail.
Many wonder why he was allowed to be released from prison in New Jersey when faced with such grave charges.
The short answer: New Jersey doesn’t have a bailout system like the one in Florida. Prosecutors there charged him with manslaughter, and a judge let him go.
Now that he’s in trouble again, New Jersey wants him back behind bars.
The New Jersey incident began long before he died when Latham was confronted by neighbors about his unpredictable driving in their neighborhood. Latham recorded some of these confrontations for TikTok, and one of his videos garnered 3 million views, turning a neighborhood argument into a social media curiosity.
But on May 4, 2020, the confrontations came to a head, and 51-year-old William Durham, a correction officer and Latham neighbor, was stabbed to death, according to Latham prosecutors.
During the argument, Latham returned to his house and came back with a taser and knives. He claimed self-defense but the Durhams attorney and prosecutor disagree.
“It’s not a self defense. If it were self-defense, he would have come in and not come out, ”said Diane Ruberton, who represents the Durham family.
Ruberton believes Latham was hoping the confrontation would escalate.
“He was clearly someone who wanted TikTok to be famous, quote-unquotation, and it seems like his behavior was driven by that motivation,” she said.
Fast forward to this weekend in Lee County. Florida Highway Patrol says Latham, who now lives in Naples, threatened a teenage driver and tried to ram his car on Ben Hill Griffin Parkway late Sunday.
“Our concern has always been that his aggressive behavior would continue if he was released in New Jersey,” said Ruberton.
WINK News tried to speak to Latham about the charges when he left Lee County Jail on Monday, but he refused to speak.
The New Jersey Attorney’s Office will ask a judge Friday to issue a warrant for Latham’s arrest and extradite him. Prosecutors also accused some members of the Durham family of their roles in the confrontation.