Amatadi Latham's words stunned a Montgomery County courtroom in January when he confessed, in mid-trial, to the home invasion in which businessman Robert Chae was killed, but he offered none Tuesday morning when it was time to be sent to prison for life.
Latham, 26, of Philadelphia's Frankford section, has a mandatory life term for second-degree murder in the suffocation death of Chae, who was 58 when Latham and other robbers bound his head with duct tape and beat him Jan. 9, 2009.
Latham is the second of seven people originally charged in the case to be sentenced to life. Three others are awaiting sentencing, one has been acquitted, and one remains set for trial.
Montgomery County Court Judge Thomas P. Rogers also sentenced Latham to consecutive sentences totaling 32 to 64 years on conspiracy and robbery counts for the predawn attack.
Chae was murdered just four days after Latham walked away from a halfway house to which he had been paroled from a drug sentence in August 2008. Latham's criminal history includes eight arrests in Philadelphia, starting when he was 14.
In the trial over the attack that sent him to prison for life, Latham confessed that he carried a gun into the house where the Center City shopowner was bound and beaten, but claimed he "never touched Mr. Chae."
Assistant District Attorney Todd Stephens called Latham "the epitome of evil" for the attack.
"In the end, he's another drug dealer who got his hands on a gun and went on to kill an innocent victim," Stephens said, "and for that he will be locked up for the rest of his life."
Defense attorney Cary McClain said the conviction would be appealed because of how prosecutors presented evidence, including a 911 recording, in the trial.