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Lawyers for former NU prof Wyndham Lathem press on despite co-defendant’s plea deal

A day after co-defendant Andrew Warren reached a deal with Cook County prosecutors, Lathem’s lawyers said they will take their client’s murder case to trial.

Wyndham Lathem (left) and Andrew Warren | Chicago police
Lawyers for former Northwestern University professor Wyndham Lathem, (left) said Tuesday that their client still wants to go to trial for a 2017 River North murder, despite a plea deal by co-defendant Andrew Warren (right).
Chicago police

Former Northwestern University professor Wyndham Lathem will continue to fight charges in a bloody 2017 murder despite his co-defendant’s pledge to provide damning testimony if the case goes to trial.

A day after Londoner Andrew Warren agreed to a plea deal with Cook County prosecutors, lawyers for the world-renowned microbiologist said that they looked forward to getting to question Warren, 58, at trial.

“It seems like another co-defendant who’s guilty, shifting blame,” Adam Sheppard told reporters Tuesday after a status hearing for his client at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse. “We don’t support [Warren’s] credibility. We take great issue with it. We’re looking forward to cross-examining him at trial.”

Judge Charles Burns Tuesday ruled that Warren’s plea agreement would be made public, with the exception of a paragraph that included disputed information about the murder of Lathem’s boyfriend Trenton James Cornell-Duranleau.

Burns said it might take several days for the redacted documents to be made public.

The plea agreement stipulates that Warren would be sentenced to 45 years in exchange for his cooperation with the prosecution.

During a hearing in Warren’s case Monday, Assistant State’s Attorney Craig Engebretson read a summary of Warren’s statement from the agreement, in which Warren admitted he and Lathem had corresponded online about murder fantasies for weeks before Warren flew to Chicago. Just a few days after, the Cornell-Duranleau’s body was found inside Lathem’s apartment in a River North high-rise.

Warren told investigators that the pair had planned to kill Cornell-Duranleau and record the killing on Lathem’s camera phone, and that he and Lathem stabbed the 26-year-old victim in his bedroom.

Police have said Cornell-Duranleau, a hairstylist who had moved to Chicago from a small town in Michigan, was stabbed so forcefully that the blade fell off of one of the knives used in the killing.

Warren and Lathem went on the lam for nearly two weeks after the murder, driving a rented car to Lake Geneva, where they donated $1,000 to a public library in Cornell-Duranleau’s name. They also donated more than $5,000 to a men’s health center in Chicago. Lathem reportedly sent video messages to friends and family in which he expressed remorse for betraying Cornell-Duranleau’s trust and making “the biggest mistake of my life.”

Lathem dropped Warren off at a police station near Golden Gate Park, then drove himself to Oakland and turned himself in to police there. Both men have been held without bond since their arrest.

No date has been set for 44-year-old Lathem’s trial. As part of his deal, Warren will not be sentenced until after Lathem’s trial.