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.
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. (Read more murder stories.)