Ex-Northwestern Prof Sentenced in Boyfriend's 'Cold-Blooded' Murder

Wyndham Lathem gets 53 years in 2017 stabbing
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 8, 2021 1:01 AM CDT
Updated Jan 26, 2022 12:00 AM CST
Ex-Northwestern Professor Guilty of Boyfriend's Murder
In this Aug. 19, 2017, file photo, Wyndham Lathem arrives at a police station as he is escorted by Chicago police in Chicago.   (AP Photo/Jim Young, Pool, File)

Update: The former Northwestern University professor who killed his boyfriend in 2017 has been sentenced to 53 years behind bars. The Illinois judge called the "cold-blooded" killing of Trenton Cornell-Duranleau an “execution," the AP reports. Our original story from Oct. 8, 2021, follows:

The former Northwestern University professor accused of carrying out a murderous plot with a man he met online has now been convicted of first-degree murder. Wyndham Lathem, 47, a well-known microbiologist, was found guilty of stabbing his boyfriend, 26-year-old Trenton James Cornell-Duranleau, to death in 2017 at a Chicago high-rise. Prosecutors say Andrew Warren, whom Lathem met online, concocted the scheme with Lathem as part of a sexual fantasy the men shared. But Lathem testified that it was Warren who killed Cornell-Duranleau during a meth-fueled sexual encounter involving all three men, and that he was not involved, though he admitted he'd engaged in consensual "knife play" with Cornell-Duranleau before the attack.

Lathem and Warren fled after the slaying and were ultimately arrested in California. Warren, a 61-year-old British national who traveled to the US on Lathem's dime, pleaded guilty in 2019 in a plea deal that offered him a 45-year prison sentence in exchange for testifying against Lathem, which he did, for more than an hour, ABC 7 reports. He admitted he stabbed Cornell-Duranleau, but said it happened only after Lathem, who came up with the idea, started the violence.

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The original idea was for the two depressed men to kill each other, Warren testified, but Lathem later suggested killing his boyfriend instead after they were unable to buy a gun. The prosecution also played a recording Lathem apparently made for his parents while on the run, a sort of video suicide note in which he appears to admit killing Cornell-Duranleau, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. The jury reached a verdict in just 90 minutes, WGN reports. (More murder stories.)

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