Trial against former NU professor accused of brutal murder on River North, expected to start on Monday

Jury selection in the trial of a former microbiologist at Northwestern University, accused of murdering his girlfriend with a British man who flew to the United States to take part in the killing, is expected to start on Monday.

Preliminary statements in the 47-year-old Wyndham Lathem’s trial and testimony from at least one of the prosecution’s witnesses are also scheduled to take place on Monday.

The trial is expected to last two weeks.

Trenton Cornell-Duranleau, 26, was found dead in an apartment in River North on July 27, 2017.

Trenton Cornell-Duranleau, 26, was found dead in an apartment in River North on July 27, 2017.

Lathem made international headlines in 2017 as the target of a nationwide hunt for the body of 26-year-old Trenton James Cornell-Duranleau discovered in Lathem’s River North apartment.

Lathem was a famous microbiologist known for his research into bubonic plague and had previously been approved as a “select agent” by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the Chicago Sun-Times previously reported.

Authorities say Cornell-Duranleau had been stabbed nearly 70 times while sleeping by Lathem and Andrew Warren, a former chief financial officer at Oxford University.

Cook County prosecutors said earlier that Lathem and Warren hatched the plan as part of a violent sexual fantasy that was to end with the two men killing each other.

Andrew Warren, bottom, is looking toward attorney Ariel Boyce-Smith with the public defender's office during an extradition hearing at Justice Hall in San Francisco on August 11, 2017.

Andrew Warren, bottom, is looking toward attorney Ariel Boyce-Smith with the public defender’s office during an extradition hearing at Justice Hall in San Francisco on August 11, 2017.
Photo of AP file

Warren pleaded guilty to murder in 2019 and was sentenced to 45 years in prison as part of a plea deal with prosecutors that would potentially allow him to serve the bulk of his sentence in England. He is expected to testify against Lathem.

Three days after landing in Chicago, Warren went to Lathem’s apartment on July 27, 2017, where Lathem allegedly outlined a plan to fatally stab Cornell-Duranleau while he slept.

Warren filmed the murder, admitting to covering Cornell-Duranleau’s mouth and holding him down when Lathem stabbed him, according to authorities and court records. Warren also allegedly admitted that he hit Cornell-Duranleau in the head with a lamp and then stabbed him in the chest.

Warren and Lathem fled the city in a rented car after the murder, Chicago police said.

The couple stopped at a library in Lake Geneva, where they donated $ 1,000 in Cornell-Duranleau’s name and also donated more than $ 5,000 to a men’s health center in Chicago, authorities said.

Lathem later dropped Warren off at a San Francisco police station and then surrendered to police in nearby Oakland.

Lathem’s lawyer twice argued that he should be released on bond during the corona pandemic and told Judge Charles Burns that Lathem could help fight COVID-19.

Prosecutors vehemently protested his release, saying Lathem had proven adept at hiding and covering his digital footprints in the hunt for his arrest.

Burns, who will oversee Lathem’s trial, denied bail on both occasions.

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