Ricky Latham pleads guilty in 2018 deadly boat crash


It’s been nearly five years since West Alabama was shaken by what many called an unthinkable tragedy on the Black Warrior River.
Destiny Graben, 23, and Ricky Glover, 47, were killed in a boat crash the July 4, 2018.

The lead investigators said 36-year-old Ricky Latham, the driver of the boat, had a blood alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit. Latham’s attorney Jim Standridge says these years have been hard on his client.

“Mr. Latham feels horrible about what happened in this case,” Standridge said. “Three of the people injured and Miss Destiny Graben who died were friends of Mr. Latham. Mr. Latham did not know Mr. Glover but he feels horrible that Mr. Glover lost his life. It has been a tragic situation for everyone involved including Mr. Latham and he has the deepest regrets. ”

Friday, Latham pleaded guilty to two counts of reckless murder for the deaths of Destiny Graben and Roger Glover, as well as three counts of assault for the injuries of Michael Brown, Brock Halper and the paralysis of Mac Poole.

Latham  admitted to being intoxicated at the time of the deadly crash.

District Attorney Robert Turner Jr. said although nothing will undo this tragedy and bring back those lost, this is a long-awaited step toward some sort of closure for all involved.

“Whenever you have a situation like this, your thoughts, your prayers, your energy should be focused on the victims,” Turner said. “And with this case finally coming to the close, hopefully the victims can get some closure. Even though this does not erase the loss, it will never do that. The case has been hovering over their lives for this long had to be excruciating for them. Today, we are just happy to say that we do have a guilty plea. The family was here to hear the admission of guilt.”

The question people in our area have been asking for years is, “What’s taken so long for this case to be resolved?”

“This case had a lot of facts that had to be investigated,” Standridge said. “The law was complicated on it. There were a number of people involved in it and it just took a long time.”

“And then we did have the COVID pandemic which kind of suspended court operations all over, but there was a lengthy suspension of court activity here,” Turner said. “Those are some of the contributing factors that came about in this particular case, but we are just happy to say that we are trying to focus on the future and our office is working diligently to make sure that we prevent the length of time from charge to trial or charge to plea from becoming this long ever again.”

Circuit Judge Marvin Wiggins is allowing Latham to stay out on bond until his sentencing, which is set for May 17, 2023. Latham faces up to 20 years in prison.





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