A sobbing Wyndham Lathem appeared to have admitted to brutally killing his boyfriend in a video Cook County prosecutors played for jurors Friday.
“He trusted me completely and felt safe with me, and I betrayed that,” the former Northwestern University professor, now 47, could be seen saying about his boyfriend, Trenton Cornell-Duranleau.
“I took that all away when I killed him.”
Lathem’s parents received the video in a link that was included in an email titled “From your son” days after Cornell-Duranleau, 26, was found stabbed to death in Lathem’s River North condo on July 27, 2017, authorities said.
Lathem’s parents turned the email over to the U.S. Marshals Service soon after.
Lathem is accused of fatally stabbing Cornell-Duranleau with the help of Andrew Warren, a British man who flew to Chicago days before the murder.
In the video, Lathem tells his parents he didn’t know why he never told them about Cornell-Duranleau, who he called his “squishy boy.”
“It wasn’t an accident, but it was a mistake,” Lathem said on the video. “I regret it with every fiber of my being.”
Lathem is also seen on the video telling his parents he believes he wouldn’t be alive for much longer and asked that he be cremated without a memorial or funeral.
“I can’t live with this feeling, with this guilt,” Lathem said on the video, adding the guilt was “tearing him apart.”
“Someone like me doesn’t deserve to go on anyway,” Lathem goes on to say in the video.
Lathem also instructs his parents to turn his estate over to the Howard Brown Health Center, or to create a scholarship in Cornell-Duranleau’s name.
“No one should remember me, they should remember Trent,” Lathem said.
Earlier this week, staff members at Howard Brown and the Lake Geneva Public Library said Lathem made anonymous donations in Cornell-Duranleau’s name on the day his body was discovered.
Lathem’s lawyers will likely dispute that Lathem’s video was a confession when the case continues before Judge Charles Burns next week.
The defense attorneys have maintained it was Warren who killed Cornell-Duranleau in a jealous rage after Lathem rejected Warren’s romantic feelings.
Thomas Wine, one of Lathem’s attorneys, said if anything, his client felt “morally responsible” for Cornell-Duranleau’s death.
Warren, who pleaded guilty to Cornell-Duranleau’s murder in 2019, testified against Lathem earlier this week.
Lathem and Warren initially planned to kill each other as part of a suicide pact, Warren, 61, told jurors. Warren said he didn’t know of Lathem’s plan to murder Cornell-Duranleau until he got a text from Lathem the day Cornell-Duranleau was killed.