The now-former Northwestern University professor who horrifically and maniacally slaughtered his boyfriend to death was acting out an extravagant, vicious plot he conceived in an online classroom along with an Oxford University employee, prosecutors say.
The microbiology professor, Wyndham Lathem, was a faculty researcher at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago when he allegedly committed the heinous crime inside his “sophisticated and timeless” downtown Chicago condo.
The murder victim was Trenton H. James Cornell-Duranleau, a 26-year-old hairdresser.
At a bond hearing on Sunday, Cook County prosecutors told a judge how they believe Lathem, 43, and his accomplice, 56-year-old British national Andrew Warren, planned and executed the gruesome killing, according to the Chicago Tribune.
For several months in their online chats, prosecutors say, Lathem and Warren discussed their desire to murder at least one random person and then kill themselves as part of a bizarre sex fantasy.
It was Lathem’s job to select the murder victim. He chose his twentysomething boyfriend, Cornell-Duranleau.
Lathem and Warren murdered Cornell-Duranleau in the wee hours of July 27. (RELATED: ‘Armed And Dangerous’ Fancypants College Professor Menaces Chicago After Brutal Murder)
Earlier in July, Lathem paid Warren’s airfare so that Warren could fly from England to Chicago. Lathem then paid for Warren to stay in a hotel near his 10th-floor condo.
Cornell-Duranleau was sleeping in a bed inside Lathem’s apartment. After receiving a text from Lathem, Chicago police say, Warren left the hotel and came to the apartment.
Warren’s job was to hold a cell phone and record the murder. Meanwhile, police say, Lathem took a six-inch drywall knife and began repeatedly stabbing and slashing at Cornell-Duranleau as he lay in the bed — “over and over in the neck and chest area,” assistant state’s attorney Natosha Toller told the court, according to the Tribune.
In all, Lathem stabbed Cornell-Duranleau 70 times. The slaying with the six-inch drywall knife was so brutal that Lathem tore Cornell-Duranleau’s pulmonary artery and, in fact, almost decapitated him.
Cornell-Duranleau woke up in the midst of his own carnage and tried to fight Lathem off.
“Wyndham, what are you doing?” Cornell-Duranleau asked Lathem, according to prosecutors. Those words were among his last.
Cornell-Duranleau also begged Warren to save his life, prosecutors say.
Warren did not help Cornell-Duranleau. Instead, Warren placed his hands over Cornell-Duranleau’s mouth to silence him, police say. Warren also bashed Cornell-Duranleau in the head with a heavy bedside lamp. Then, Warren went to the kitchen to get a couple more knives. He came back and began stabbing Cornell-Duranleau along with Lathem, prosecutors say.
Wanted for Murder by CPD – Our search will only intensify. Prof Latham & Mr Warren, do the right thing & turn yourself in to any police dept pic.twitter.com/fwWkcfFfco
— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) August 2, 2017
After the grisly murder, Lathem and Warren took showers, wanly attempted to clean up their murder mess and then fled the condo building and the city.
They made their way to California, where they eventually turned themselves in at separate police stations in the Bay Area nine days after the killing.
While on the lam, Lathem and Warren made bizarre donations to a public library in Wisconsin and to a gay-specialty social services charity. At the library — in Lake Geneva, Wis. — Lathem called the front desk of his condo building and anonymously reported about a crime inside his condo unit.
The assistant Cook County state’s attorney at Sunday’s hearing told the judge that Lathem and Warren had planned to murder more people before eventually killing themselves, according to CBS News.
It appears that the second victim may have been scheduled show up at Lathem’s swanky condo on the night of the murder.
No other victims have been reported.
Both Lathem and Warren have admitted their parts in the murder of Cornell-Duranleau, according to the Tribune.
Lathem made a video while on the run about his role in the murder. In the video, which he sent to his friends and family, he said “he is not the person people thought he was” and admitted that he had “betrayed” Cornell-Duranleau’s trust.
The judge at the bond hearing called the allegations against Lathem and Warren “heinous” and ordered both men to be held without bail, according to the Tribune.
Northwestern University has fired Lathem and school officials have deleted Lathem’s faculty profile.
Northwestern officials have also deleted Lathem’s name from an “LGBT OutList” curated by the Feinberg School of Medicine’s office of diversity and inclusion.
An archived version of the “LGBT OutList” from earlier this summer lists Lathem’s name.
A year of tuition — alone — at the Feinberg School of Medicine costs about $55,000. School officials estimate that the total cost of a year at the school with fees and various living expenses costs around $85,000.
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