BELPRE - A former Belpre woman who still owns a home in the city has been implicated in a South Carolina murder-for-hire plot targeting the wife of her boss.
Wendy A. Moore, 37, of North Charleston, S.C., allegedly paid her ex-husband and his former cellmate $5,000 and gave them a bottle of prescription pills to kill Nancy Latham, the treasurer of the South Carolina Lottery Commission.
McGill Road, Belpre neighbor Harry Fletcher said that he hopes the charges against Moore are not true.
"She was a really nice person. She would bake things and bring them over. She was just kind and giving," recalled Fletcher, 62.
Fletcher said Moore worked from home and that she and her children never had problems with any of the neighbors.
She moved away just over a year ago, he said.
"I think she had asthma and that's why she wanted to move to South Carolina," he said.
According to The Post and Courier of Charleston, the plot came to light April 5 when Charleston police stopped Aaron R. Wilkinson, 39, of Alvaton, Ky., for driving under suspension and found a gun and ammunition in the car.
Wilkinson alleged that he had been solicited by Moore's ex-husband, Samuel A. Yenawine, 38, of Louisville, Ky., to murder Latham. Wilkinson was a former cellmate of Yenawine's from a prison stint in Kentucky, he said.
Moore, who still owns a home on McGill Road in Belpre, worked for Latham's husband, Chris Latham, a high ranking official at Bank of America who was in the process of divorcing his wife. Several reports also say Moore and Chris Latham were romantically involved.
A criminal complaint filed April 8 in South Carolina's U.S. District Court named only Moore, Wilkinson and Yenawine in the scheme.
A representative from South Carolina's U.S. District Court did not return calls for comment Monday.
Chris Latham's rental house on Sullivan's Island, S.C., was searched Thursday, reported The Post and Courier.
He has not been charged in connection to the murder-for-hire plot.
Monday he was named in a civil suit filed by Nancy Latham that alleges he was involved in the plot. She is seeking damages for emotional distress brought on by the plot.
Belpre resident Kim McKibben, who is in the process of purchasing Moore's home through a land contract, said she thought something was strange when she did not receive a receipt for her monthly house payment this month from Moore.
"She's normally very good about it. So I thought it was strange that one hasn't shown up yet this month," said McKibben, who has lived in the house for more than a year, but never met Moore.
McKibben also mentioned that Moore included a stipulation in the contract that specifically address the house catching fire.
"She told me, if the house burns, she'll make sure we get all our down payment back," noted McKibben, who has been living in the house for more than a year.
While Moore was still married to Yenawine in 2001, Yenawine burned their Louisville, Ky. house to the ground trying to cover evidence that he had stabbed a man who lived in a connected apartment, reported The Post Courier.
Yenawine alleged that he had suspected the tenant, Brian Tinnell, had molested one of his children. Confronting him, an argument ensued with Tinnell bearing a knife, which Yenawine reported he wrestled away from the man before stabbing him six times, setting fire to the apartment and going back to bed.
Yenawine was acquitted of the murder charge but convicted of arson.
According to an application that Moore filled out to become a volunteer cheerleading coach for the Belpre City school district in 2007, Moore was working for attorney Bill Butler at Butler Law Office at the time.
Louisville attorney William Butler is representing Yenawine in the murder-for-hire plot. Calls to his office Monday were not returned.
Moore and Wilkinson are being held in Charleston on the charges. Yenawine, who is being held in Kentucky, will likely be moved to Charleston this week to be arraigned.
Police have not released a motive for the plot. An official with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) told South Carolina television station WCSC that the plot was set to be carried out Sunday, the day before the Lathams were scheduled to appear in court for divorce proceedings.