Latham pleads not guilty to murder

By Thomas Garcia: Quay County Sun

Phillip J. Latham Jr., arrested in connection with Tuesday’s homicide, entered a plea of not guilty on Thursday in Quay County Magistrate Court.

Latham, 24, is charged with murder in connection with the shooting death of Tiffany Throckmorton, 21.

Throckmorton was shot in the left side on Tuesday morning at a residence on East High Street and was pronounced dead at 12:43 p.m. at Dan C. Trigg Memorial Hospital.

Latham is being held without bond. Charges against him also include possession of a firearm or destructive device by a felon and tampering with evidence, according to Magistrate Court documents.

Latham told police “he had unloaded the firearm and was just playing around with it,” according to an affidavit in the court documents.

He stated that “he was dry firing it toward Tiffany” and “that he did not remember reloading the firearm and he was pointing it toward Tiffany,” according to the affidavit.

Latham stated “he had the firearm against Tiffany’s side and that she was pushing herself up against the firearm telling him to do it,” according to the affidavit, which also said Latham and Throckmorton were in the bedroom of the East High Street residence.

“The firearm went off, shooting Tiffany Throckmorton in the side” and “she was holding her side walking out of the bedroom going toward the kitchen area,” where she fell to her knees, the affidavit stated. Throckmorton’s mother then came out asking what was wrong, the affidavit said.

According to the affidavit, Latham said he yelled to call 911, then called 911 himself and then picked up the gun and tried to hide it in his car, which was parked at Wells Fargo bank across the street from the residence. He then went back across the street to the High Street residence where he saw police arriving, the affidavit stated.

The affidavit in the court documents was taken by Cpl. Darrick Shaw of the Tucumcari Police Department, who said he found Throckmorton on the floor of the kitchen and talked with her until the EMS team arrived on the scene.

Investigation of the shooting and related events were still in process on Friday, said Tucumcari Police Chief Larry Ham.

Latham is also being investigated as a suspect in a drive-by shooting that occurred within 24 hours of the shooting of Throckmorton, Ham said.

No one was injured in the earlier incident, but there was property damage. Evidence has been collected and is being examined to determine if it is consistent with the firearm that was used in the Throckmorton shooting, Ham said.

Deborah Throckmorton said on Thursday that her daughter had a black eye.
Ham said police also are investigating “the possibility that there was domestic violence between the suspect and the shooting victim two to three days prior to the shooting.”

Latham was released in early March from the state’s Department of Corrections after serving time for armed robbery, Ham said.

Chelle Delaney contributed to this story.