A Cook County judge Friday denied granting bail to a former Northwestern University microbiologist accused of murder.
Wyndham Lathem, who is charged with murdering his boyfriend in 2017, wanted to be released from Cook County Jail so he could assist in the battle against the coronavirus.
Prosecutors argued strenuously against granting the former professor release, saying he was adept at hiding his “digital footprints,” had previously evaded capture while on the run and had made a video recording confessing his role in the murder to his mother.
Judge Charles Burns denied Lathem’s request to be released on $1 million bail once before in April.
When denying Lathem’s request again Friday, Burns said allowing Lathem to leave jail and having access to the internet would unleash a “plethora of problems.”
The judge also seemed skeptical that Lathem, a renowned infectious disease expert, could be of much help researching COVID-19, particularly with the significant restrictions Lathem’s attorneys had offered to impose upon him.
“Dr. Lathem alone is not going to get us out of this situation,” Burns said of any expertise Lathem could offer with the coronavirus pandemic.
Lathem’s attorneys, in their latest motion, were hoping their client could be released on $1.5 million bail. They also offered to have a third-party custodian — either a former Highland Park police officer or an investigator — checking in with him multiple times a day while he helped in curbing the pandemic.
Defense attorney Adam Sheppard said his client had just under $500,000 in a trust fund that would pay for his living expenses, the hiring of the custodian and any other expenses related to his release.
Lathem and Andrew Warren, a former clerk at Oxford College, are accused of murdering 26-year-old Trenton Cornell-Duranleau as he lay sleeping in Lathem’s River North apartment.
Warren agreed last year to testify against Lathem in exchange for a 45-year prison sentence.
Lathem, who has been held without bail since his arrest, faces a potential life sentence if convicted.