An 18-year-old teenage New Jersey National Guard private recorded the moment he killed a 51-year-old father over an ongoing driving feud because he wanted to be TikTok famous, according to the dead man’s lawyer.
Zachary Latham, fatally stabbed and Tasered William ‘Timmy’ Durham Sr. in May after two years of confrontations over his alleged reckless driving on a residential road where they lived.
Latham was charged with first-degree manslaughter after claiming his actions were in self-defense and the dead man’s wife and two children have been charged with criminal trespass and aggravated or simple assault.
But lawyers for Durham’s family want the charges against the grieving family dropped as they claim Durham lured the family into the fatal confrontation and blame police for not doing anything about the matter earlier, noting Latham’s history of trouble.
On May 4 Latham allegedly swerved his car into a bike ridden by the victim’s 17-year-old son, prompting the family to later confront him. Lawyers claim Latham hit Mr. Durham – who was a corrections officer – then lured the family to follow him to his home.
Latham then went inside to retrieve two knives and a Taser from his home in Vineland.
The teenager’s wife filmed the altercation that followed, allegedly telling the family: ‘I promise you, you better back up, ’cause you’re not gonna like what’s coming out.’
The clip was posted to Latham’s TikTok profile but has since been deleted.
‘Sarah was recording because it was her and Latham’s intent to post these videos to TikTok and become TikTok famous,’ according to a letter from the family’s lawyers that was obtained by NJ.com.
‘If Latham was in fear for his or Sarah’s safety, they both would have retreated inside, called police and stayed there. They did not because their intent was to lure the Durhams there, attack them and record it for TikTok.’
Latham has many videos on his profile where he shows off his cars and boasts about confrontations with locals.
In one he argues with another woman about speeding.
In another video before the killing he records Catherine Durham arguing with him about his driving. He calls her ‘Karen’ in the clip from April and commenters encouraged him to go after her in the video which garnered millions of views.
A separate clip shows him involved in a physical altercation with 21-year-old William Durham.
‘I got a knife, dude,’ Latham warns. He captioned the video: ‘Karen’s son found out the video went viral and tried taking me out of the car.’
The lawyers also claim that he shared a post on April 23 where he held a gun and said ‘that this is how you handle neighbors.’ The post has been deleted.
Latham even shared a video of a police officer confirming that he won’t take any action even though he saw video evidence. It’s unclear which incident he is addressing.
The deceased father’s legal team notes that a judge and several cops live in the area and knew about past trouble Latham had caused. Police cited the closure of courts for not being able to sign a complaint against him.
Police said they would discuss cyber harassment with the prosecutor’s office but the prosecutor said she was not contacted about the matter.
The lawyers believed the correctional officer’s death could have been avoided.
‘This tragedy was completely avoidable had the Vineland Police Department and the (Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office) taken action against Latham to stop him from terrorizing the Durham family and other neighbors in the months prior to Tim’s murder,’ they wrote in a letter to Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae in June.
‘Compounding this tragedy is the manner in which the Durham family has been treated as criminals themselves, when they are victims.’
The lawyers want Latham charged with first-degree murder and want charges brought against Latham’s wife and two friends they claim were involved.
Latham – who was living with his grandmother – has been banned from the street while awaiting trial on August 20.
He is emancipated at 17 years old and social media posts suggest his mother is deceased.
He had a pretrail hearing in May but was released.
Lawyers reference his charges of simple assault, terroristic threats and criminal mischief in an unrelated juvenile court matter in the weeks leading up to Durham’s killing as a reason why he should not be free.
‘They clearly see that he has a history of provoking incidents to get a reaction,’ Diane M. Ruberton said. ‘There is a lot of history with Latham that they know about that wasn’t presented to the court at the detention hearing.
‘In my opinion, those prior contacts (with police) show that he has a history of being untruthful with police and he has a history of violence and that he’s dangerous.
‘They can’t deny them that right to file a complaint. The fact that the courts were shut down just means they have to make different accommodations.’
Latham has been active on his TikTok account as recently as today.