Suspect in killing for ‘TikTok fame’ released from jail after Lee County arrest

Published: January 26, 2021 6:17 PM EST

An 18-year-old accused of killing a man in New Jersey and who was arrested Sunday in Lee County is out on bond.

Investigators say Zachary Latham has a history of violence, even being accused of stabbing to death a neighbor last year in New Jersey for what prosecutors say was his attempt at being famous on TikTok.

Latham was arrested late Sunday in south Lee County after he threatened a teen and tried to ram into the teen’s car. Latham was released Monday afternoon from the Lee County Jail on $40,000 bond.

Many are asking why he was even allowed to be out of jail in New Jersey when he’s facing such serious charges there.

The short answer: New Jersey doesn’t have a bail system like the one we have in Florida. Prosecutors there charged him with manslaughter and a judge let him go.

Now that he’s in trouble again, New Jersey wants to put him back behind bars.

The New Jersey incident began long before a death occurred, with Latham being confronted by neighbors over his erratic driving in their neighborhood. Latham recorded some of those confrontations for TikTok, and one of his videos garnered 3 million views, turning a neighborhood dispute into a social media curiosity.

But it was on May 4, 2020, that the confrontations came to a head, and 51-year-old William Durham, a corrections officer and Latham’s neighbor, was stabbed to death by Latham, prosecutors say.

During the argument, Latham returned to his house and came back with a Taser and knives. He claimed self-defense, but the Durhams’ attorney and prosecutors disagree.

“It’s not self-defense. If it was self-defense, he would’ve entered the house and not come back out,” said Diane Ruberton, who represents the Durham family.

Ruberton believes Latham hoped the confrontation would escalate.

“He was clearly someone that wanted to be TikTok famous, quote-unquote, and it seems like his behavior was fueled by that motivation,” she said.

Fast forward to this weekend in Lee County. The Florida Highway Patrol says Latham, who now lives in Naples, threatened a teenage driver and tried to ram his car along Ben Hill Griffin Parkway late Sunday.

“Our concern always was that when he was released in New Jersey that his aggressive conduct would continue,” Ruberton said.

WINK News tried to speak with Latham about the charges when he walked out of the Lee County Jail on Monday, but he wouldn’t talk.

New Jersey prosecutors on Friday will ask a judge to issue a warrant for Latham’s arrest and extradite him. Prosecutors also charged some members of the Durham family for their roles in the confrontation.