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Trial of former Northwestern professor accused of grisly River North murder expected to start Monday

Opening statements in 47-year-old Wyndham Lathem’s trial and testimony from at least one of the prosecution’s witnesses are also scheduled to take place Monday.

Wyndham Lathem
Cook County sheriff’s office

Jury selection in the trial of a former Northwestern University microbiologist accused of murdering his boyfriend with a British man who flew to the United States to participate in the killing is expected to start Monday.

Opening statements in 47-year-old Wyndham Lathem’s trial and testimony from at least one prosecution witnesses are also set for Monday.

The trial is expected to take two weeks.

Trenton Cornell-Duranleau, 26, was found dead in a River North condo on July 27, 2017.
Trenton Cornell-Duranleau, 26, was found dead in a River North condo on July 27, 2017.

Lathem made international headlines in 2017 as the target of a nationwide manhunt after the body of 26-year-old Trenton James Cornell-Duranleau was discovered in Lathem’s River North apartment.

Lathem was a renowned microbiologist known for his research on the bubonic plague and had previously been granted “select agent” clearance by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Chicago Sun-Times has reported.

Authorities have said Cornell-Duranleau had been stabbed nearly 70 times while he slept by Lathem and Andrew Warren, a former Oxford University financial officer.

Cook County prosecutors previously said Lathem and Warren hatched the plan as part of a violent sexual fantasy that was supposed to end with the two men killing each other.

Andrew Warren, bottom, looks toward attorney Ariel Boyce-Smith with the public defender’s office during an extradition hearing at the Hall of Justice in San Francisco Aug. 11, 2017.
Andrew Warren, bottom, looks toward attorney Ariel Boyce-Smith with the public defender’s office during an extradition hearing at the Hall of Justice in San Francisco Aug. 11, 2017.
AP file photo

Warren pleaded guilty to murder charges in 2019 and was sentenced to 45 years in prison as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors that would potentially allow him to serve the bulk of his sentence in England. He is expected to testify against Lathem.

Three days after landing in Chicago, Warren went to Lathem’s apartment on July 27, 2017, where Lathem allegedly outlined a plan to fatally stab Cornell-Duranleau as he slept.

Warren filmed the killing and admitted to covering Cornell-Duranleau’s mouth and holding him down as Lathem stabbed him, according to court records. Authorities said Warren admitted he hit Cornell-Duranleau in the head with a lamp then stabbed him in the chest.

Warren and Lathem fled the city in a rented car after the killing, Chicago police said.

The pair stopped at a library in Lake Geneva, where they donated $1,000 in Cornell-Duranleau’s name and also gave more than $5,000 to a men’s health center in Chicago, authorities said.

Lathem later dropped Warren off at a police station in San Francisco then surrendered to police in Oakland.

Lathem’s attorney’s twice argued he should to be released on bail during the coronavirus pandemic, telling Judge Charles Burns that Lathem could help combat COVID-19.

Prosecutors objected, saying Lathem had proved adept at hiding and covering his digital footprints during the manhunt.

Burns, who will oversee Lathem’s trial, denied bail on both occasions.