Former Northwest Professor Wyndham Lathem convicted of the murder of friend Trenton James Cornell-Duranleau – CBS Chicago
CHICAGO (CBS / AP) – Former Northwestern University professor Wyndham Lathem was found guilty of stabbing his friend Trenton James Cornell-Duranleau with a knife in 2017, which prosecutors called a thrill.
A Cook County jury found 47-year-old Lathem guilty of first degree murder after a week’s testimony Thursday.
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He faces a prison sentence of 20 to 60 years.
Cornell-Duranleau’s murder was part of what prosecutors called a sexual fantasy he shared with another man charged in the case.
Lathem has been accused of stabbing Cornell-Duranleau – a 26-year-old hairdresser from Michigan – dozens of times in Lathem’s high-rise Chicago condo.
Lathem, a renowned microbiologist, and Andrew Warren, an Oxford University finance officer, were arrested in California after an eight-day manhunt after Cornell-Duranleau’s death. Warren pleaded guilty in 2019.
During his trial, Lathem alleged that Warren committed the crime while crouching in a nearby bathroom.
One day after blaming Warren, who pleaded guilty of murder for his role in the murder, Lathem admitted under prosecutor’s questioning that not only had he not tried to stop Warren from killing his friend, but also showered before the two fled together.
On the stand, Lathem, a renowned microbiologist, said he was shocked and believed the authorities would blame him for the murder of Cornell-Duranleau, who was stabbed dozens of times in Lathem’s Chicago apartment. But he admitted that he had ample opportunity to tell someone what had happened, starting with the doorman at his apartment building.
“(You) didn’t tell the bouncer that this man from England just slaughtered my boyfriend, did you?” Asked District Attorney Craig Engebretson.
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“No,” said Lathem.
He also said he hadn’t told any of the many people he crossed with after he and Warren escaped Chicago before the two were arrested eight days later in Northern California after leading authorities were on a national manhunt.
On Tuesday, Lathem testified that Warren stabbed Cornell-Duranleau alone while a Mathemphatime-fueled sexual encounter with the three men began.
“I didn’t stop Andrew from hurting him, I didn’t,” Lathem testified. “I hid like a coward in the bathroom.”
This contradicted the testimony of Warren, who pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in a plea agreement in 2019, to testify against Lathem in exchange for a 45-year prison sentence at the beginning of the trial.
Warren, who was the Oxford University Treasury Officer at the time of the assassination, testified that he flew from England to Chicago to meet Lathem and enter into a pact to kill each other before agreeing to Cornell, 26 – To kill Durleau at the suggestion of Lathem.
He testified that he actually stabbed Cornell-Duranleau, but only after Lathem had already started stabbing him.
Lathem’s testimony also contradicted his testimony on a video linked to an email he sent to his parents days after the murder.
“He trusted me completely and felt safe with me, and I betrayed that,” said Lathem in the video that the parents handed over to the US Marshal Service again last week and on Wednesday and played by prosecutors in court. “I took it all away when I killed him.”
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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)