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Northwestern Professor Indicted In Grisly River North Murder

By Erica Demarest | September 16, 2017 8:08am | Updated on September 18, 2017 8:58am
 Wyndham Lathem, 43, and Andrew Warren, 56, are charged with first-degree murder.
Wyndham Lathem, 43, and Andrew Warren, 56, are charged with first-degree murder.
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Chicago Police Department

COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — The Northwestern University professor accused of killing his boyfriend in a murder-sex-suicide fantasy has been criminally indicted in the case.

Wyndham Lathem, 43, and accomplice Andrew Warren, a 56-year-old British financial officer, each face six counts of first-degree murder, according to the Cook County State's Attorney's Office.

The men are to be arrainged Sep. 28 at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse, 2650 S. California Ave.

RELATED: Professor's Murder-Sex-Suicide Plot Hatched In Chatroom, Prosecutors Say

Details of the grisly murder that made international headlines were revealed in court last month. Prosecutors said Lathem and Warren stabbed Lathem's boyfriend — hairstylist Trenton Cornell-Duranleau — dozens of times in a premeditated murder-sex-suicide fantasy they plotted for several months in an online chatroom.

The pair are accused of stabbing Cornell-Duranleau, 26, at least 70 times while he slept.

"Wyndham, what are you doing?" Cornell-Duranleau asked after awaking during the attack, prosecutors said.

Authorities also revealed there almost was another victim, but that person might not have showed up.

Lathem was fired from Northwestern earlier this month "for the act of fleeing from police when there was an arrest warrant out for him." Warren is currently suspended from his job at Somerville College in Oxford, England.

For months before the July 27 slaying, Lathem and Warren allegedly discussed killing a person before killing themselves to complete a sexual fantasy they'd shared, Assistant State's Attorney Natosha Toller revealed Aug. 20. The men decided they would kill someone and, afterward, Lathem would stab Warren to death while Warren shot Lathem, Toller said.

Lathem paid for Warren to fly to Chicago and put Warren up in a hotel, according to Toller. Lathem eventually decided the men would kill his boyfriend, prosecutors said, and Warren agreed.

Lathem lured Cornell-Duranleau to his River North apartment, where video showed them going into the building together, Toller said. After Cornell-Duranleau went to sleep, Lathem sent a text message to Warren telling him it was time to kill Cornell-Duranleau and that Warren should come over, according to Toller.

Warren went to the apartment and, after Lathem ensured Cornell-Duranleau was sleeping, Lathem joined Warren in a bathroom and they removed a new knife from its packaging, Toller said. Lathem asked Warren to record the slaying on a cellphone.

Lathem then returned to the bedroom and stabbed Cornell-Duranleau "over and over," Toller said.

Cornell-Duranleau woke up, Toller said, and started screaming and fighting back. Lathem asked Warren for help and Warren put his hand over Cornell-Duranleau's mouth. The man bit Warren, Toller said.

Warren then hit Cornell-Duranleau with a "heavy metal lamp," prosecutors said, while Lathem continued to stab the younger man. Warren is accused of retrieving two knives from the kitchen and bringing them into the bedroom.

Lathem and Warren used the knives to stab Cornell-Duranleau, Toller said; Warren used so much force that he broke the blade of one knife.

As Cornell-Duranleau bled to death, Lathem and Warren showered in the bathroom and cleaned themselves, Toller said. They had both cut themselves during the attack.

The two tried to clean the apartment before setting off on a lengthy trip that led to a national manhunt, authorities said. According to Toller, the men used a rented car to travel — making a $5,610 donation in Cornell-Duranleau's name to a health center a $1,000 donation in Cornell-Duranleau's name to a library.

RELATED: Northwestern Professor Sent Apology Video To Friends After Murder

At the library on July 27, Lathem called his doorman anonymously to report a crime in his 10th floor apartment at the Grand Plaza, 540 N. State St. Police found Cornell-Duranleau dead about 8:30 p.m., laying in his underwear on the floor. Officers also found several knives and a broken lamp.

Cornell-Duranleau had been stabbed 70 times, was nearly decapitated and had several wounds that would have been fatal by themselves. He had "numerous" defensive wounds, Toller said.

Lathem sent a video message to his parents and friends after Cornell-Duranleau's death, Toller said, telling them he was not the person they thought he was and that he had killed Cornell-Duranleau. The death wasn't an accident, Toller said, according to prosecutors, and he told his family Cornell-Duranleau had trusted him and felt safe with him and he "betrayed" that.

Cornell-Duranleau had "no idea" what was coming as he slept, Warren told police, according to prosecutors.

Lathem and Warren eventually traveled to California, where they learned there was a national search for them, prosecutors said. The duo contacted an attorney and negotiated with police to turn themselves in, which they did in separate places.

RELATED: National Manhunt On For Northwestern Professor Wanted In High-Rise Murder

Cornell-Duranleau, a native of Corunna, Mich., worked as a hairstylist after earning his cosmetology license in Holland, Mich., according to an obituary posted by his family.

"Throughout his life, he loved music and animals," the obituary read. "His enthusiasm for life was infectious. Trenton was a caregiver and loved to help others. His youthful free spirit fueled his love of cars, video games and cartoons."