CHICAGO (AP) — A jury convicted a former Northwestern University professor of first-degree murder on Thursday in the 2017 stabbing death of his boyfriend.[1]

Jurors in Cook County deliberated less than two hours before returning the guilty verdict against Wyndham Lathem, 47, a renowned microbiologist whom Northwestern fired after he fled the Chicago area following the killing.

During nine days of testimony, prosecutors described Lathem as a coldblooded killer who stabbed defenseless 26-year-old Trenton James Cornell-Duranleau.[2] Defense attorneys argued their client was a bystander framed by the actual killer, alleged co-conspirator Andrew Warren, a British national who pleaded guilty to his role in the slaying.

Jurors were sent back to deliberate around 3:30 p.m. Thursday after a few hours of closing arguments and reached their decision about 5:15 p.m.

On Tuesday, Lathem testified that Warren alone stabbed Cornell-Duranleau during what started as a methamphetamine-fueled sexual encounter involving the three men.

Warren in 2019 pleaded guilty to first-degree murder as part of a plea agreement that called for him to testify against Lathem in exchange for receiving a 45-year prison sentence.[3]

Warren, who was an Oxford University financial officer at the time of the slaying, testified that he flew from England to Chicago to meet Lathem and take part in a pact to kill each other before agreeing to kill Cornell-Duranleau at Lathem's suggestion.

He testified that he did, in fact, stab Cornell-Duranleau, but only after Lathem had already begun stabbing him.

Notes & References

  1. Tareen, Sophia. “From Respected at Elite Universities to Wanted for Murder.” AP NEWS. Associated Press, August 7, 2017. ↩︎

  2. “Professor Charged in Stabbing Death Blames Another Man.” AP NEWS. Associated Press, October 6, 2021. ↩︎

  3. “British Man to Testify against Professor in Chicago Stabbing.” AP NEWS. Associated Press, July 22, 2019. ↩︎