Ex-Northwestern professor, Oxford employee arrested for freakish fantasy murder

Frederick Owens
August 22, 2017

Lathem has been fired from Northwestern University. According to Toller, the men used a rented vehicle to travel - making a $5,610 donation in Cornell-Duranleau's name to a health center a $1,000 donation in Cornell-Duranleau's name to the Geneva public library.

Trenton Cornell-Duranleau was fatally stabbed in July.

. Following an eight day manhunt, Lathem and Warren surrendered peacefully to Californian police on 4 August.

The two men then fled to the United States west coast and their photographs began appearing on Chicago police wanted posters.

Both men allegedly admitted their involvement in the incident, prosecutors said.

Cornell-Duranleau, a native of Corunna, Mich., worked as a hairstylist after earning his cosmetology license in Holland, Mich., according to an obituary posted by his family.

Almost a month since the July 27 killing, prosecutors revealed for the first time what they believe inspired the savage stabbing: sex fantasies plotted in an online chat room that ended in murder and suicide.

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.

Police in Chicago say they found a "gruesome scene" in Lathem's tenth-floor apartment where hairdresser Trenton Cornell-Duranleau, 26, had been stabbed and slashed to death. After Cornell-Duranleau went to sleep, Lathem sent a text message to Warren telling him it was time to kill Cornell-Duranleau and that Warren should come over, according to Toller. Lathem had purchased the man's plane ticket and also bought him a hotel room near his Chicago condo. Meanwhile, police say, Lathem took a six-inch drywall knife and began repeatedly stabbing and slashing at Cornell-Duranleau as he lay in the bed - "over and over in the neck and chest area", assistant state's attorney Natosha Toller told the court, according to the Tribune. Lathem instructed Warren to record cellphone video of what would happen next, Toller said, though for some reason Warren never did.

Cornell-Duranleau was sleeping in a bed inside Lathem's apartment.

Authorities said Cornell-Duranleau woke up and started screaming, trying to fight Lathem off of him. 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.

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Warren and Lathem are now in jail awaiting their next hearing. "Wyndham, what are you doing?" were the victim's last words, prosecutors reportedly said. The wounds were so severe he was almost decapitated, Toller said, and the knives had been plunged with such force that one broke. While the prosecutor used the plural in talking about the alleged fantasy to kill, she did not say there were other victims.

Both Warren and Lathem continue to be held without bail after being extradited to Chicago.

Instead, the men cleaned themselves up and fled the condo, renting a vehicle together before beginning their apparent cross-country getaway road trip, prosecutors alleged. "It was a little more dark and disturbing, as far as I'm concerned".

Warren did not help Cornell-Duranleau.

For several months in their online chats, prosecutors say, Lathem and Warren discussed their desire to murder at least one random person and then kill themselves as part of a weird sex fantasy.

At a news conference Sunday before the bond hearing, Chicago Police superintendent Eddie Johnson called the killing "unquestionably tragic". In it, according to prosecutors, he admitted to the killing and told his loved ones "that he is not the person people thought he was".

At the Sunday court hearing, Lathem attorney, Barry Sheppard, gave the judge letters from the former professor's friends and colleagues that touted his academic and research accomplishments.

The men have another hearing Tuesday, reported the Associated Press.

Lathem was sacked from Northwestern earlier this month "for the act of fleeing from police when there was an arrest warrant out for him".

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