NU Professor, Oxford Staffer Charged With 1st Degree Murder - NBC 6 South Florida
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NU Professor, Oxford Staffer Charged With 1st Degree Murder

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A Northwestern professor and an Oxford employee returned to Chicago Friday to face charges in the stabbing death of a hair stylist. (Published Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017)

    The former Northwestern University professor and Oxford employee accused in the "gruesome" stabbing death of a Chicago man late last month were formally charged with murder on Saturday, according to police.

    Wyndham Lathem, 43, and Andrew Warren, 56, were extradited from northern California – where they surrendered on Aug. 4 after an eight-day, nationwide manhunt – to Chicago early Saturday.

    Upon arrival, authorities said detectives interrogated the men, who were then formally charged with first-degree murder in connection with the killing of 26-year-old Trenton H. James Cornell-Duranleau.

    Cornell-Duranleau, a hairstylist and Michigan native who moved to Chicago about a year ago, was found dead on July 27 inside Lathem’s condo in the city’s River North neighborhood, according to police.

    Officials said Cornell-Duranleau was in a romantic relationship with Lathem, an associate professor of microbiology at Northwestern University's medical school. He was terminated by the university, where he had worked since 2007, after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

    On the evening of July 27, a doorman at the Grand Plaza Apartments, located at 540 N. State St., received an anonymous phone call telling him to check a residence on the 10th floor “because a crime may have been committed,” CPD Detective Commander Brendan Deenihan said at a news conference Sunday.

    Around 8:30 p.m., the doorman and Chicago police officers entered the apartment to discover the body of Cornell-Duranleau, who authorities said had been dead for more than 12 hours.

    Cornell-Duranleau was stabbed more than 40 times, so “savagely murdered,” according to police, that the blade of one of the two knives believed to have been used in the attack was broken.

    An autopsy found Cornell-Duranleau died of multiple sharp force injuries, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office, and his death was ruled a homicide. A toxicology report released Friday found that he had methamphetamine in his system at the time of his death.

    Detectives spoke with witnesses who said they heard “what sounded like a fight and screaming” at around 5 a.m. that morning. Investigators later discovered that Lathem was staying at a hotel close to the apartment building, and was seen with the victim on surveillance video in the area the day before.

    They also learned that Lathem picked up Warren, a senior treasury assistant at the University of Oxford who he met through the internet, at O’Hare International Airport several days before the killing, Deenihan said.

    Warren and Lathem were seen on surveillance footage leaving the property after the incident, according to police, who said they fled Chicago shortly thereafter.

    The men drove to Lake Geneva and donated $1,000 in Cornell-Duranleau’s name to the Lake Geneva Public Library, where Deenihan said Lathem was the one who made the anonymous call to the doorman alerting him of the crime.

    Lathem also sent a video message to family members and friends after the killing, according to police, allegedly apologizing for his involvement in the crime.

    Warren was arrested in San Francisco on Aug. 4, while Lathem surrendered at the federal courthouse in Oakland later that day after communicating with authorities, according to the U.S. Marshals office.

    Police revealed a select few pieces of information Sunday, as the suspects were to appear in court in the afternoon, at which point the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office planned to address the charges and allegations against them in greater detail.

    “What I can tell you is it was not domestic in nature like a husband, wife, or boyfriend, boyfriend, or a love triangle; that was not the motive,” Deenihan said. “It was a little bit more dark and disturbing, as far as I’m concerned.”

    Lathem and Warren were scheduled to appear in bond court at 1 p.m.