New Jersey Judge Releases Accused Cop Killer Without Bail, No Electronic Monitor

Sandy Malone

A judge released the man accused of killing Correctional Police Officer William Durham without monetary restrictions.

Bridgeton, NJ – A judge released an accused cop killer from jail without bail on Thursday even though 18-year-old Zachary Latham stabbed an off-duty correctional officer to death in front of multiple people.

Latham, who fatally attacked his neighbor, 51-year-old New Jersey Correctional Police Officer William “Timmy” Durham Sr., with multiple knives, is facing multiple felony charges including first-degree aggravated manslaughter, according to NJ.com.

Police Benevolent Association (PBA) Local 105 Vice President Mike Gallagher, who previously worked with Officer Durham at South Woods State Prison, said his friend was “exceptional” and called his death a “senseless murder."

“He was a family man and he died a hero defending his family,” he told NJ.com.

Latham was being held in the Cumberland County Jail pending trial.

But at a detention hearing on Thursday, Superior Court Judge William F. Ziegler released Latham with no monetary restrictions or electronic monitoring.

The trouble began between the neighbors a few weeks ago when Officer Durham’s wife, Catherine, told Latham to slow down after she saw him speeding up the street, NJ.com reported.

Gallagher said Latham cursed out Catherine Durham and then began harassing the Durham family online.

A friend told NJ.com that Latham had “terrorized” the Durhams for several weeks.

He said the fight on Monday started after Latham swerved towards one of the Durhams’ sons as he was driving down the street shortly before 8 p.m., NJ.com reported.

That’s when Catherine Durham yelled at Latham again and he punched her, which set off the series of confrontations on May 4 that led to the officer’s death.

Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae said that Latham and his wife argued with Officer Durham and his wife in front of the Durhams’ home, NJ.com reported.

“It was reported by witnesses that a confrontation had occurred moments earlier between Latham and his wife and Durham Sr. and his wife, Catherine T. Durham,” Webb-McRae said in a statement released Wednesday, the Daily Journal reported.

The prosecutor said that Latham left and went home and armed himself with a knife and a stun gun.

Latham told police that when he left the Durhams’ house, he could see the off-duty officer and his sons – 21-year-old William Durham Jr. and a 17-year-old son – following him, according to NJ.com.

He confronted Officer Durham and his sons when they arrived at his residence.

The arrest affidavit said that Lathan told police one of the Durhams took a “fighting stance” and the brawl began in the driveway, NJ.com reported

Two of Latham’s friend joined the fight against the three Durhams while Latham’s wife filmed the incident on her cell phone.

Police said the fight continued into Latham’s garage and that’s when the 18-year-old deployed the stun gun on Officer Durham, and then attacked him with two knives, NJ.com reported.

The complaint said Durham was stabbed in the back and the left arm.

One of the knives Latham used to stab his neighbor had a four-inch blade, NJ.com reported.

Court documents said Latham stabbed Officer Durham "multiple times with a four-inch fixed blade knife during a physical confrontation," and then also tried to stab his neighbor’s older son, the Daily Journal reported.

The complaint said “William T. Durham was fatally wounded by the defendant during a prolonged physical assault” and was pronounced dead at 9:19 p.m., NJ.com reported.

Officer Durham was a 19-year-veteran of the New Jersey Department of Corrections.

Latham was transported to Atlantic City Medical Center for treatment of a concussion, abrasions on his face and neck, and leg injuries, and was treated and released, the Daily Journal reported.

He was charged with first-degree aggravated manslaughter, two counts of second-degree aggravated assault, four counts of third-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and fourth-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, The Press of Atlantic City reported.

Catherine Durham, who was married to Officer Durham for 32 years, has been charged with fourth-degree criminal trespass and simple assault, NJ.com reported.

The fallen officer’s sons were both charged with third-degree aggravated assault and fourth-degree criminal trespass.

The video filmed by Latham’s wife was taken by the police as evidence, according to the Daily Journal.

Court records showed that Latham was released on Level II pre-trial monitoring, which means he will have to report to court staff twice a month and is prohibited from having contact with the witnesses or being in the vicinity of Thornhill Road, The Press of Atlantic City reported.

Latham is also prohibited from having firearms, destructive devices, or any other dangerous weapons.

Blue Lives Matter reached out to the judge but had not received a response from Ziegler at publication time.

Comments (42)
No. 1-13
Jim H. - Virginia US
Jim H. - Virginia US

From the Judges order denying pretrial detention...

"FURTHER, for the reasons set forth on the record and herein, the court does not find clear and convincing evidence that pretrial detention is necessary to reasonably assure the defendant’s appearance in court when required, the protection of the safety of any other person or the community and that the defendant will not obstruct or attempt to obstruct the criminal justice process.

The state did not meet its burden to detain, that there are no conditions that would reasonably assure the defendant’s appearance in court when required; the protection of the safety of any other person and the community; and that the defendant will not obstruct or attempt to obstruct the criminal justice process. Therefore, the defendant is released on level 2 monitoring.

THEREFORE, the motion for pretrial detention is DENIED."

HikerJohn
HikerJohn

The people of New Jersey need to rise up. This is what happens when liberalism takes root.

LynnSB
LynnSB

So this goddamn murderer can be set free because the judge doesn’t think there’s gonna be a problem with him showing up to court he murdered a man in cold blood a correctional officer in cold blood and yet that’s OK the judge sees no problem you know since he let them free why doesn’t he make them stay with him why doesn’t the judge have to be responsible for this little son of a bitch in his own home with his own family these judges are losing their fucking minds and they should be taken out and replaced

ikaika
ikaika

If this crime doesn't warrant being held, or at least monitired, then what does?

lauraaz
lauraaz

That judge needs to be thrown off the bench! Obviously a threat to public safety

FMB
FMB

It will be interesting to see this video. It seems as though the family went onto his property and threatened him. Several family members were also charged with assault and trespass. Stun gun and knife seems like more of a premeditated case. This POS better do time but this case reminds us to be careful when off duty. Should have called PD and been smarter than trying to take matters into his on hands.

Marxest
Marxest

Excellent news! It makes my day. Mr Zachary Latham is a brave young American who who had no choice but to use lethal force against a belligerent mob that attacked his home. That belligerent mob was led by a thug of a Correction Officer, William Durham. Durham caused his own death with his own belligerent nature. His death was not a "senseless murder" as falsely purported by his 'friend', the PBA Vice President Gallagher. Durham should have called real police officers instead of leading his two young punk sons to a home invasion that ended in his incidental death. Zachary Latham had to stand his ground and not allow his family to be assaulted by unlawful goons. Latham is a proud example of stand your ground defense. Superior Court Justice Zeigler wisely and judiciously released Mr Latham because the facts pointed to this as self defense, not murder. Zachary Latham, you boldly defended your home like a true American.

Officer Durham, I feel little sympathy for you because you got what you deserved.

Murg
Murg

As a retired P.O. Let me remind all that when all is said and done Judges are Lawyers. Nuff said.

Cowboycop22
Cowboycop22

He prob won’t make trial.

Whutsup
Whutsup

My guess the video might have had something to do with the judges decision??? Only time will tell as this plays out in court.

Stanracer
Stanracer

This so called judge should have his sorry liberal ass punted of the bench.

natoj
natoj

Just another case where the criminal is shown favoritism and the vic's have to suffer even more. This so called system needs some serious overhauling and we as the public need to push for changes

Cop Watch
Cop Watch

this will be a short trial. self defense, not guilty!


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