Thomas Latanowich

Attorney Says Accused Cop Killer Shouldn't Face First Degree Murder Charge

The hearing is expected to focus on pre-trial motions and possibly setting a trial date for Thomas Latanowich

NBC10 Boston

The man charged with killing a Massachusetts police sergeant attempting to serve an arrest warrant two years ago on Cape Cod is in court on Tuesday.

Thomas Latanowich, 32, whose last known address was in Somerville, is charged with first-degree murder and eight other counts in the shooting death of Yarmouth police Sgt. Sean Gannon on April 12, 2018, as he and six other officers were serving a warrant at a Marstons Mills home.

Gannon's dog Nero was also shot in the face and neck, but survived.

Tuesday's hearing in Barnstable Superior Court was expected to focus on pre-trial motions and possibly setting a trial date, according to the MetroWest Daily News. The hearing is expected to last all day.

Latanowich's lawyer, Joseph Krowski Jr., argued Tuesday morning that his client should not face first degree murder charges, but possibly involuntary manslaughter or second degree murder. He said the grand jury pool was "poisoned" by information about Latanowich's criminal past.

Latanowich has a lengthy criminal history. When he was arrested in December of 2016 and charged in a non-fatal stabbing, Yarmouth police described him as a "notorious and violent criminal" with over 100 prior criminal charges in Massachusetts. Many of the charges were later dismissed.

"There's no evidence he planned to shoot a police officer that day, no evidence he was lying in wait," Krowski said. "There's evidence he was certainly scared, evidence there was a large police presence."

Prosecutors called two police officers to testify during the hearing, both of whom spoke with Latanowich on the phone as he was inside the home before surrendering to police.

Barnstable Officer Kurt Lariviere was assigned to dispatch when he said he received a series of 911 calls from Latanowich. Portions of those calls were played in court Tuesday.

Barnstable police Lt. John Murphy Jr. described how he spoke to Latanowich via cell phone and helped talk him out of the home and surrender to the authorities.

"During phone conversations, he was unusually calm in my opinion," Murphy said.

Also testifying Tuesday was a friend of Latanowich who said she communicated with him via text message and Snapchat as he was inside the house. She said he told her "the house was surrounded" and then said he "was getting locked up."

Contact Us