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A Murder-Suicide Sex Fantasy Fueled Brutal River North Stabbing: Prosecutors

By Stephen Gossett in News on Aug 21, 2017 6:20PM

Wyndham Lathem (left); Andrew Warren (right)

Two employees of prestigious universities brutally killed their victim as part of a murder-suicide sexual fantasy that the men concocted while chatting online, prosecutors reportedly said on Sunday. They planned to kill their victim, then more people, then later kill each other at the same time, prosecutors said at a bond hearing. Both men were ordered held with bail.

Grisly new details of the murder also emerged on Sunday as prosecutors said that Trenton James Cornell-Duranleau—the 26-year-old boyfriend of former Northwestern University microbiology professor Wyndham Lathem—was stabbed 70 times on July 27, and the murder was so violent that the victim was nearly decapitated and a knife used in the brutal slaying was broken. "Wyndham, what are you doing?" were the victim's last words, prosecutors reportedly said.

Cornell-Duranleau, a Michigan native and Pilsen resident, had been "lured" to Lathem's River North apartment, in the 500 block of North State Street, a prosecutor said, according to the Tribune.

The attack—which involved a six-inch dry-wall saw knife—started while Cornell-Duranleau slept, prosecutor Natosha Toller said.

When Cornell-Duranleau awoke and fought back during the brutal attack, Lathem called for Andrew Warren, who was standing nearby. (Lathem had reportedly instructed Warren to film the murder.) According to the Associated Press:

"Warren ran over to cover the victim's mouth, then struck him in the head with a heavy lamp in an attempt to silence him, Toller said. As Lathem continued to stab his boyfriend, Warren left the room and returned with two kitchen knives, she said.

Warren bent over Cornell-Duranleau and joined Lathem in stabbing him, the prosecutor said."

"The heinous facts speak for themselves," said Judge Adam Bourgeois.

Prosecutors reportedly said that Warren and Lathem made a donation to the Howard Brown Health Center for more than $5,000 after the murder. That's in addition to the previously reported detail that a $1000 donation was made to a Lake Geneva, Wisconsin library in the victim's name. Lathem called staff at his apartment building from the Wisconsin library and reported that a crime took place in his apartment, prosecutors reportedly said.

Before the murder, Lathem paid for Warren's airfare to Chicago and rented a room for his alleged accomplice at Hotel Palomar (505 N. State St.). Warren had been working as a clerk with Oxford University.

Both men surrendered to officials in California early in August. Before he surrendered, Latham sent a video apology to family and friends over his role in the killing, according to police.