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Trial date set for Ardmore man accused of first degree murder

Sierra Rains
The Daily Ardmoreite
Jack Latham

An Ardmore man accused of murdering a local resident at his home in November 2019 is scheduled to stand trial in November.

Jack Latham, 54, was arrested and charged with the murder of Martin Lucas, 63, in November 2019. According to Carter County court documents, Latham pleaded not guilty at an arraignment hearing on Aug. 19 and a trial date has tentatively been set for Nov. 2.

Latham was jailed in Benton County, Arkansas on a separate warrant around the time the victim’s stolen truck was spotted in the Spring Dale, Arkansas, area on Nov. 20, 2019. Officers with the Ardmore Police Department traveled to the area, nearly 300 miles away, to process the vehicle — a key piece in the investigation.

Through interviews, police learned that Latham had reportedly been spotted in the truck. Further investigation led officers to identify Latham as a suspect in Lucas’s death.

Lucas was found dead inside his Ardmore residence near Q Street Northwest on Nov. 15, 2019. APD Capt. Eric Hamblin told The Ardmoreite there was evidence of blunt-force trauma all over the victim’s body — injuries which Hamblin said resembled those of someone who had jumped off a building.

According to court records, the victim is believed to have been struck in the head several times with an unknown object. “It was a fairly gruesome crime scene,” Hamblin said. After his arrest, officers reportedly collected trace evidence of blood, hair and fibers from Latham’s clothing.

Latham and the victim are believed to have known each other. However, no potential motive has been given for the crime at this time. Hamblin, who is now retired, complimented the work of his fellow investigators following Latham’s arrest in 2019.

“I think that the family is very relieved that somebody is in jail,” Hamblin told The Ardmoreite. “Sgt. Brice Woolly has worked his tail off, as well as the other investigators in this unit and I’m very proud of these guys, they’re top notch.”

According to court records, Latham was extradited back to Carter County and denied bail. A pre-trial hearing for Latham is scheduled for Oct. 16.