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Latanowich Found Guilty of Second-Degree Murder

Screen image from the trial on Zoom.
Latanowich (right) with his attorney Joseph Krowski Jr during the last day of the trial.

The man accused of killing a Yarmouth police officer in 2018 was found guilty of second-degree murder on Friday morning.

The jury at Barnstable Superior Court found Thomas Latanowich guilty on all six related charges, in addition to the murder charge. They include two assault charges, three firearms offenses and mistreatment of a police dog.

Latanowich shot police Sergeant Sean Gannon as Gannon was trying to arrest him in an attic in Marstons Mills. Latanowich also shot Gannon’s police dog. The dog survived.

The second-degree murder verdict means that the defendant intentionally killed Gannon but without premeditation.

As of press time, the judge was listening to victim impact statements from Gannon’s family.

On Thursday, the jury sent a note to Judge Jeffrey Locke on Thursday saying they are at an impasse on the charge of mistreatment of a police dog. They said they can reach verdicts on the six remaining counts.

Locke told the jury the impasse will not prevent them from completing their work.

“Provided the jury is unanimously agreed on other charges,” Locke said.

Earlier in the week, Latanowich took the witness stand in his own defense. His lawyer, Joseph Krowski, has argued that Latanowich did not know it was police who were in the house and that he thought it was the same people who shot at his car two weeks before.

On the stand, Krowski asked Latanowich to explain a text he sent while hiding in the attic. In the text, he told a friend he might be going to jail.

“I was under the impression that it was the people from that night that shot at me and I figured, if anything, it wasn’t going to end well,” Latanowich said. “Either I was going to be killed or be forced to defend myself.”

On cross examination, prosecutor Michael Trudeau tried to unravel Latanowich’s timeline using the many text messages the defendant sent while he was hiding in the attic.

They included texts sent around 2:15 PM that said quote, “They got surrounded,” and “I’m shooting it out.”

Gannon was shot around 3:30 PM.

In closing arguments on Tuesday, Krowski told jurors that Gannon’s death was “an avoidable tragedy.”

“The byproduct of an inept, incompetent, rudderless, so-called police operation,” Krowski said.

Barnstable County Assistant District Attorney Michael Trudeau told the jury to use their common sense when assessing the evidence and pointed to the timeline created by the text messages that Latanowich sent.

He called the evidence “overwhelming.”

“As the defendant has told you himself, he’s had 40 months to think about this. Ladies and gentlemen, I would suggest that that translates into 40 months to come up and concoct a story to tell you,” Trudeau said.

Elsa Partan is a producer for Living Lab Radio. She first came to the station in 2002 as an intern and fell in love with radio. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. From 2006 to 2009, she covered the state of Wyoming for the NPR member station Wyoming Public Media in Laramie. She was a newspaper reporter at The Mashpee Enterprise from 2010 to 2013. She lives in Falmouth with her husband and two daughters.